I was 11 and for the first time ever, I was going to cook something! It was apple crumble in Domestic Science class a few weeks into my first term at the high school. My mum got the ingredients ready and off I went to school with a message from my mum ringing in my ears, ‘looking forward to our ‘afters’ tonight’.
Everything was okay. I prepared everything and popped the dish of apple crumble into an oven. And (I thought) set the correct temperature. To this day, I don’t know how it happened, but after half an hour, smoke belched out of the oven. To my dismay, when I opened the oven, my apple crumble was burnt black!
I just cried, thinking of the humiliation to come when taking home the burnt offerings. Mrs Freeman, our teacher, took me aside and said ‘don’t cry, Jean. I will make you another one. And you’ll put the crumble in the oven and take it out when it is ready–so in real terms, you will cook it.’
All went well. I produced a magnificent crumble, which I proudly took home and we ate it for ‘afters’ that evening. I never admitted my failure as a cook.
I have never forgotten Mrs Freeman’s kindness and we got on very well for the following five years. I miraculously got a Domestic Science ‘O’ level.
Towing another boat for repair, the tow boat’s engined failed. The river was flooded and the water was racing into a culvert–a drain tunnel–between two factory units with a supplies walkway above. My passenger and I would have been injured, or possibly faced loss of life, had we remained. I jumped off of the boats holding the ropes that were tied to the railings. The rope got twisted around my arm. I screeched for help and a young man realised how bad of a situation we were in and raced across the bridge and saved the day.
On a holiday cruiser, we were moored up in front of a lock while babysitting our youngest son. My wife was returning from shopping for supplies with our son number one and daughter. Number one decided to jump on to boat. Mum shouted to stop him, but it was too late. Within seconds, he was under the boat in the loch ‘race’–very UGLY swirling water. I jumped in fully clothed and wearing boots! As a Sub-Aqua diver, I was able to feel my way under the boat and caught a leg just before he was sucked into the torrent. I got him to the dock side, but I was still underwater and being pulled down by the waterlogged boots.
I only had enough strength to keep his head above the water. A saviour grabbed him and saved us both, then left the scene.
We were never able to thank him. Some heavenly forces were with us that day.
I grew up in Glasgow and once when I was a teenager, a friend and I missed our last bus home after a party where we didn’t really known many people.
We left and it was in a more dangerous part of town–it was over an hour’s walk to get to anywhere else we knew where we could get a bus, but we didn’t know what direction to go and were getting very worried. We had no phones (as it was pre-smartphone times!) and no cash for a taxi. We had only our useless bus passes.
Then a dark bus went past and stopped. The bus driver was off duty and going back to the depot but was worried about us. He told us to hide in the dark bus as he wasn’t meant to have passengers and gave us a lift to somewhere safe where we could catch a night bus.
I still remember how he helped us in such a matter of fact Glaswegian way. What a legend!
I was in hospital, recovering from a leg break operation. In the night, I woke up confused and didn’t know what planet I was on. A lovely nurse came by and saw my distress and brought me a cup of tea and sat next to me to calm me. I never saw her again.
I was on holiday with my family in Italy. My brother and I didn’t fit in the hire car, so opted to travel by bus to a concert where we were all going to. The bus driver was really unhelpful and we got off at the wrong stop, at least a mile from where we should have been.
The concert was due to start and at this point, heavens opened. The only shelter we could see was under a roof in someone’s garden. We dived in there, at which point the lights came on inside and the owner came out to see what was happening.
He could rightly have been quite annoyed at our trespassing, but instead he heard us out and then insisted on giving us a lift to the concert. We made it just in time and will always be grateful to Dino for his kindness.