I was listening to the Utter Shambles podcast which happened to have Collins & Herring on this week, and Andrew Collins told a story about how he fell of a pile of bags of manure (or possibly pig food, he wasn’t sure) and how he agreed with the previous point that had been made, which was that time sometimes slows down for people.
The only time I can immediately think of that this has happened to me was back at school. I must have been around 13 years old, and for some reason at lunchtime I was messing about at the back of the New Block (which, ironically, was older than all of us pupils at the school). This was a rarity. Lunchtimes were normally spent playing football in the playground or the tennis courts, or generally dossing about in the lunch hall. Not for us, was going into the glade, a wooded area at the back of the school which was out of bounds and therefore an immediate attraction to those that wanted to take the risk of getting caught. Neither was it common for us to wander off of school premises. The nearest High Street was a mile away, meaning you had next to no time to do anything by the time you got there given that you had to be back for registration immediately after lunch. Pointless if you asked me, but it was a popular activity for some.
There was also a group that seemed to hang around outside the back entrance to the New Block. As they were older than us, we never challenged them for their place, but this day they weren’t there for whatever reason and we chose to sit there and chat rather than anything more strenuous. The New Block was built on a slant, so the front was levelled off, but the back of the building, which had the Fire Exits, had several concrete steps leading from the building to the back field. I was messing about at the top of the steps. I say messing about, I’m really not sure what I was doing, but for some reason I was standing on the small wall that was to the right of the steps, at the top, talking to a group of friends who were by the bottom step. From memory that means my feet were about 6′ off the floor.
Suddenly, for a joke, someone threw something at me. I’m pretty sure it was only a rolled up piece of paper or similar, not enough to cause any damage, but large enough for me to try to avoid. As I ducked to one side, I suddenly realised I was off balance. I did that ridiculous flappy-arm thing that people do when they are about to fall over, and this is when things started to go in slow motion.
The momentum of dodging the missile had caused me to lean over the side of the wall, away from the concrete steps. As I fell, I felt my foot fling itself in the air, and I crashed to the ground, some 6ft below, behind the prickly bushes that were planted either side of the steps, landing squarely, arse first, on a small concrete ledge. I lay there for what felt like a couple of seconds, shocked at the fall. I had immediately felt like it had happened in slow motion, and as I sat there digesting what had happened, and pondering the weirdness of how long it had taken to fall, wondering why things seemed to move so slowly at times like this, when I felt something hit me on the shoulder. Looking around, to add insult to injury, I found it was my shoe, which had slipped off when my leg flicked out, and had just found its way down to me, seemingly several seconds after the fall, but in reality no more than a second or two.