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Writing Portfolio 2014
Various examples demonstrating ability and
style, including both formal and informal texts
such as articles, essays, blog posts and
-‐ An online version of this portfolio is available @
The following essay is a submission from my degree course,
specifically the ‘Horror’ Film Unit. The essay was awarded a
first, and the highest mark of the group.
Discuss how the monster is monstrous?
How evil is pure evil? What differentiates a bad guy, a villain and a true
monster?Monstrosity within horror film is a widely discussed topic; this essay will
investigate the monster in Creep (2004) and what it is that makes it 'monstrous'. After a
definition of the term, and a brief plot summary, the essay will use the notion of Freud's
'uncanny' to identify how the film firstly fits into the horror genre, and why this monster
is in fact monstrous. It will then use the ideas put forward by Barbara Creed on both the
male as a monster, particularly a 'womb-‐invader' and then Judith Halberstam's
transformative male. The film includes elements of cannibalism, and with the ideas of
David J. Skal, the essay identifies how the monster associates with animals and has
evolutionarily regressed to survive. It will then identify the use of setting to create
'monstrosity' and compare Creep with a similar text. Lastly the essay will identify the
ambiguity created around this particular 'monster'; the differences in production
between 'pre and post-‐reveal' and how certain emotions displayed by characters can
affect or change exactly how 'monstrous' the monster within this text can be.
Oxford definitions of 'monster' and 'monstrosity' vary greatly; evil, ugly,
unsightly and frightening are all coined together for a word that can be either adjective
or noun – overall, it is not a pleasant term. Describing anything from people, to buildings
or inanimate objects, within horror film the term becomes more specific; a term for
other worldly beings – all of which are a threat to humans, something to be feared. To
differentiate between your average villain and a true monster, Peter Hutchings
identifies that although both are dangerous, monsters must be 'impure' and 'unnatural'.
Simply being 'evil' and causing harm is not enough; “Monsters must blur or undermine
distinctions between categories such as the living and the dead” (2004, 35). Whether
these lines be through physical abnormalities, such as human bodies with 'monstrous'
qualities: the undead, witches/Werewolves, vampires, or through the notion of the
paranormal: ghosts, possessions, hauntings; a monster does not necessarily have a
physical 'form' to pose threa. The undead and zombies are a fitting example of this
boundary transgression; they defy the natural categories of living and dead, and survive
against the laws of humanity. An fitting example of a monster with a part 'human' form
is the 2004 release, Creep.
Set in modern day London, Creep is the story of a glamorous young girl named
Kate, who after a party falls asleep at Charing Cross station; she is locked in the
Underground for the duration of the night. After boarding an empty tube, and being
harassed by a co-‐worker who had followed her, Kate is saved from the incident as he is
ripped from the carriage by an unseen attacker. She flees the train and meets a homeless
couple, Jimmy and Mandy, who for a fee agree to help her get out the station. The three
are then stalked by a killer, who captures or kills each of them in turn as they negotiate
the dark maze of underground tunnels. Kate, having ended up in a cage submerged in
dirty water, breaks free and discovers an abandoned backstreet abortion clinic;
complete with gynaecologists chair, shelves of surgical equipment and jars filled with
foetuses. As she escapes, the killer performs a procedure on a dying Mandy, and
eventually chases after Kate. The killer is revealed to be 'Craig', a hideously deformed
survivor of this clinic, who has grown up and 'evolved' to live under the stations, living
among the rats and feeding on human flesh. They fight, and Kate manages to stab 'Craig'
in the neck, killing him. The film reaches a sort of re-‐equilibrium with her curled up on
the station platform, filthy and bedraggled; a passerby mistakes her for a homeless
person and drops change into her lap.
There are many elements within the text which define Creep as 'monstrous'.
Freud's notion of 'the uncanny' was the feeling of something being present, when one is
not sure something is actually there; feeling familiar and foreign at the same time. To
what arouses 'dread and horror', yet not in a 'clearly definable sense' (1995, 339).
Throughout the first half of the film, leading up to the reveal, the emphasis is placed on
the mystery; what's lurking in the shadows, flashes and quick glances of some
threatening presence. “In order to generate suspense and a sense of the uncanny, an
effective horror film does not immediately put the monster on full display; instead it
offers a fleeting glimpse” Creed (2005, ix). Creep lends to the spectator Kate's feeling of
being watched, by eyes that are not necessarily there, or stalked by an invisible
'uncanny' hunter. Fred Schelling termed the uncanny as “the name for everything that
ought to have remained... secret and hidden but has come to light” (Creed, 2005; ix) and,
for the first half of the film, this is very apt. Even the title suggests the uncanny, the idea
that something is 'creeping' up on you.
When deconstructing Creep as a monster, Barbara Creed's ideas on the
monstrous male can be instructive and insightful; “traditional approaches to the male
monster have tended to focus on his image as terrifying because of it's association with
castration, dismemberment and death” (Creed, 2005, vii). Within the film, we see Creep
don surgical clothing and carry out a procedure on a pregnant Mandy. Creep can be seen
as a 'transformative' monster, moving from the deformed, undead creature to the mad-‐
doctor; he eerily holds his hands under a disused tap and 'washes' them over a dry,
filthy sink. Creed stated “We see a number of transformative monsters attempt to usurp
the powers of the womb. The male monster's association with the womb demonstrates a
powerful instance of the workings of the primal uncanny” (2005, xiii); this is working on
both a literal and a metaphorical level, Creep is a threat to woman and child, castrating
and killing both in a fatal act of genital mutilation. This particular scene is a fitting
example of “the mad doctor or womb-‐monster, who has debased the ancient ritual of
couvade” (2005, xii) -‐ instead of doing nothing, keeping back and letting nature take it's
course, Creep has done the exact opposite, and in doing so, become a monster. It is also a
common element of horror films to juxtapose dark subject matter, such as abortion,
genital mutilation and castration, with tentative topics going hand-‐in-‐hand. “Horror
promotes emotional catharsis in audiences” (Schneider, 1999) it is a physical genre,
with monsters promoting a body reaction, crying, adrenaline, screaming; a purge or
release of these emotions through a mixture of disturbing and dark topics.
Another element of the 'monstrous' identified by scholars, is cannibalism. Again,
defying nature and social laws, David J. Skal stated “The cannibal violently asserts itself
as a dysfunctional image of human connectedness” (1993, 372). It is revealed to Kate
when trapped in a partially submerged cage, that she is being stored as food. Having
developed underground, alone and deformed, Creep has evolved to survive on human
flesh, feeding both himself and the rats he lives with. “Cannibalism represents the most
primal kind of assimilation and inclusion imaginable” (1993, 372), Creep's only
contact/connection with humans are the vulnerable bodies: homeless persons, drunks,
which he has snatched from platforms late at night to feed (or operate!) upon. Creep is
again, blurring the lines, disturbing and transgressing categories and boundaries
between human and non-‐human; it appears he is more connected to the rats around him
that his victims begging for mercy.
This is the next factor which makes Creep even more monstrous: his
identification with the rats of the underground. We see them follow him around in a
dark, Pied-‐Piper-‐esque fashion; repulsing the other characters and signifying his
presence to the spectator. He feeds them, and communicates with them through high
pitched screeches; he does not speak English and appears unable to communicate with
humans. In the final scenes, he begs with Kate to spare his life and she softens, letting
him go once more, however Creep is simply echoing the words of Mandy, his earlier
victim, in a clever, copy-‐cat mechanism to appeal to Kate's 'humane' nature. It is this
scene that Creep is at his most 'creepy'; a hideously deformed, pale human face begging
for mercy and manipulating the English language for his benefit. Linnie Black stated
“Creep would illustrate how closely related we all are to blind, cannibalistic and
evolutionally regressive subterraneans” (Allmer, Brick &amp; Huxley, 2012: 80); it is the
notion that Creep has 'regressed' in order to survive which differentiates him as a
species. However we see him outsmart all the humans (bar survivor Kate) he
encounters throughout the film, plus countless more throughout his lifetime; aiding his
survival, and that of the rats, a species considered the lowest of the low, at the expense
of the human race.
This element of monstrosity, this evolutionary 'regression, is interesting as it can
be likened with monsters in other texts. Creep is monstrous because he has defied
biological norms and survived against nature; similar to the monsters depicted in The
Descent (2005). The Descent features a group of monsters that have flourished
underground; similar to Creep they are pale, subterranean creatures feeding on humans
that wander into their path. Unlike Creep, they appear to be much developed, having
bred and formed their own horrific species, dwelling in a cave in the US wilderness –
they are more animalistic, more creature rather than human. “The same source material
may be reinterpreted for different national cultures and contexts” (Hand and McRoy,
2007: 1); in these two films the spectator is exposed to, physically, a very similar
monster, and it is the context and setting which varies. Judith Halberstam argues that
“the representation of the monstrous body... 'that scares and appals, changes over time,
as do the individual characteristics that add up to monstrosity, as do the preferred
interpretations of monstrosity” (Creed, 2005: 8). Creep uses the setting of the London
Underground in an effective way; the juxtaposition between the mundane setting of the
tube platforms, the flickering fluorescent lights and sparse white tiles, next to the dank,
filthy, sewer systems and disused chambers and tunnels that Creep negotiates with such
ease. The realism put into the mise-‐en-‐scene, much of the film was shot on location
overnight, has great effect in making Creep all the more monstrous; the average
commuter would have no idea what truly lies below their feet when standing in Charing
The recognisable settings, such as each of the stations, and the familiarity of the
situations such as taking the tube, lend to the film in that it needs less explanation. David
Pirie identifies “...just how little exposition and explanation horror seems to want or
need these days” (2009, 218); in a genre where the spectator is exposed to just about
every horrific or murderous possibility imaginable, a deformed, sub-‐human killer
lurking underground is feasible to an audience constantly in want of shocking. It is the
climax of the film which leaves a fair amount of unanswered questions, with a few hints
of a deeper back story being introduced yet not fully explained, and it here where
Creeps' monstrosity becomes questionable.
During the last few scenes, and after Kate discovers the underground hospital
area, the spectator is introduced to Creep as Craig. After finding a labelled cot, and
several old photographs of a young deformed boy named Craig, in the final showdown
between the two protagonists, Kate spots a hospital band around his wrist reading
'Craig'. After shouting his name, and receiving a wounded, bewildered look from her
killer, Kate seems to feel some sort of apathy to this disfigured, sewer dwelling mad-‐
doctor and releases him. However, after another attempt to kill her, she spears him
through the neck with a meathook, and in a final twist of irony, uses his home, the live
tube-‐rail, to kill him. This sparing act lends doubt to the monstrosity of Craig,
humanising him with feelings and emotional, as opposed to a cold blooded, cannibal
killer. However the back story is left unexplained, and a sense of ambiguity is raised due
to the plot holes, and the spectator is left with unanswered questions.
In conclusion, Craig was much more effective, and essentially monstrous, as
Creep. Despite the lack of conviction post-‐reveal, the notion of the 'creepy uncanny' is
still extremely effective; and perhaps it is actually not the monster which is monstrous
within this particular text, but rather the idea of something monstrous lurking in the
shadows of somewhere as benign as the London Underground. The unseen threat to
Kate and the others, that for the majority of the text the spectator buys into; the film
holds most leverage with that distinct 'creepy' feeling, that on the tube at night, maybe
you're not alone.
The following is a post from my personal blog,
There isn't much worse than a nightmare. Bad dreams come in all shapes and sizes, you
name, I've had it. Whether it be dying, your teeth falling out, your boyfriend cheating, falling,
your family disowning you, suffocating, chances are it's woken you up in the middle of the
night, drenched in cold sweat, thrashing around in the covers until you blearily blink away the
sleep from your eyes and ughhh... It was all a dream.
My dreams have been known to ruin my mood, and I'm not just talking over the breakfast
table. Waves of dream-induced anxiety will wash over me days later when I remember a
specific detail, and these moods have been known to cause arguments and tension from the
utterly fictitious goings on in dreamland. Just a few weeks ago, a friend of mine was fuming as
her husband had committed the unforgivable - sleeping with one of the girls from Coronation
Street in their marital bed, while my friend looked on (and did the hoovering). His infidelity had
caused a huge row, despite being completely dreamt up, and fortunately he was able to laugh
it off. My poor friend however, not so much, and as she glowered at him from across the pub,
it occurred to me the emotional impact that dreams can actually have.
During sleep your senses are altered; your 'primary visual cortex' or your eyes, to you and
me, is closed. However, your 'secondary visual cortex', the part of the brain which interprets
outside visual stimuli, is still very much awake, trying in vain to decode the images you are
dreaming up. During all of this, the 'dorsolateral prefrontal cortex', which controls logic and
rationality, is fast asleep with you, which explains the totally insane situations we dream
ourselves into. On the other hand, a particularly active area of our brains during sleep is the
'limbic system' (the purple/grey tangled mess right in the middle) which is the primary control
centre for emotion; this explains why dreams are so emotionally charged and often deal with
extreme feelings of love, sorrow and fear.
Studies have shown that "daytime mood and social interactions" have been found to correlate
with dream details; so if they clearly have an effect on us, what is the point in dreaming? I
know I would love nothing more than my head to hit the pillow and darkness wash over me
into a blissfully blank 8 hours, only to rise feeling fresh and free from my psychotic inner
storyboard. Harvard neuroscience professor and memory expert Robert Stickgold has
conducted studies on dreaming, memory and social interaction, and his findings prove
interesting. These experiments have demonstrated that during sleep we are able to learn,
with the brain teaching itself via a variety of patterns and processes. With the stresses of daily
life, and the brain consistently under pressure, coping with everything might not always be an
option. Dreaming about things that are bothering you, particularly emotional turmoil, can help
the brain process what might be too much for you during the day.
So, the roller-coaster mechanism failing and my harness coming loose while Carmen Electra
blows my boyfriend in front of my friends and family, is simply my poor tired brain processing
my shit while my logic and reasoning system is sleeping. Thanks Brain. Fortunately, I'm
normally too embarrassed to go into true detail, with just a glossed over edit if I feel I have to
get it out. I'm normally over it by Elevenses. Which is more than can be said for my
Coronation Street friend. The last time we saw her husband, he'd been having a pretty good
week, things were on the mend and he'd been keeping it in his dream-pants apparently. Until
the omnibus came on, then he was straight back in the dreamland doghouse.
The following is a journalism report submitted for university.
This piece was awarded the highest mark out of the whole year
group, at 85%. It exemplifies a variety of different writing styles
for a number of different publications.
1. Album Review for online music Website Sound Revolution.
The ‘Closer’ EP by Playless is the first release from Highlight Records and a new project from DJ
and producer Alex Ferrer. The Razzmatazz Club resident from Barcelona, also known as
Sidechains, has previously released on some well established labels such as Ministry of Sound,
Hed Kandi and Southern Fried to name but a few. The EP is out on the 14th of February –
Valentine’s Day – and it’s filled with plenty of deep, soulful vibes and warm, sexy grooves to set
First track ‘Changes’ opens with bubbling synths, skipping hats and prominent claps. A thudding
kick track drops and is soon accompanied by a fat garage bassline. Sweet vocal samples and
jumping piano hooks produce a vibrant, booty-‐shiftin’, old school vibe, perfect for shaking off the
‘Waiting’ keeps the feel-‐good house ball rolling. Kicking beats and vocal loops bop and groove
along while staccato riffs and swaying synths compliment each other. The track builds
effortlessly into some seriously funky, dance-‐inducing drops.
Title track ‘Closer’ is jam-‐packed full of deep, foot shuffling basslines and head jacking beats. Neat
vocal sampling and well-‐placed percussion accompany atmospheric piano that swells and
swoons. Uplifting strings and emotional lyrics produce a powerful build and the drops are
funkier than Bob Marley’s tobacco box. A well-‐produced offering of deep, soulful yet energetic
‘Good Times’ does what it says on the tin, as it bumps, jumps and swings along. Punchy, bright,
synths and pitched-‐up sampling gives a nod to classic ‘90s Detroit house. Another slice of high-‐
energy house music, perfect for some serious shape cutting.
The EP is a fine example of modern house music at its best. It crosses deep house territory
without going ‘too deep’ and references classic, old school sounds while retaining a fresh, current
approach. It doesn’t break too many rules but puts modern twists on classic formulas and is
certain to kick-‐start any dance floor, from the big system clubs to living-‐room parties.
2. Feature – real life article for That’s Life magazine.
Sitting back from the computer, I smiled. Signing up to Match.com hadn’t been my first choice,
but after hearing some success stories, and with some gentle persuasion from friends, my profile
was complete and ready to go.
Jo, 59, from sunny Sussex, I was in good shape, with honey blonde hair and a shy smiling profile
photo. I had worked hard all my life and owned a string of nursing homes, and was looking
forward to retiring with a fair sized nest egg – but with no husband or children, and at my age, I
was starting to fret about feeling alone.
Romance had never been my priority, being a workaholic had kept me busy, but now all my free
time was filling me with dread.
“It doesn’t have to be love, just some companionship!” Assured my friend Sue, an idea that
appealed to me, so she helped me log on.
A few days passed and the messages began trickling in -‐ a single head-‐teacher, a quiet divorcee, a
widowed musician. All perfectly sweet and charming, but not one caught my interest. And then I
Strapping, dark and handsome, Steve’s profile stopped me in my online tracks. I scanned the page
before clicking his message, he said I seemed interesting and would like to get to know me. I
punched out a quick reply saying thank you and we exchanged details, I learned he was 52,
owned a successful company building and renting motor yachts, and lived in a flat near to Hyde
Steve was the full package – he was charming, exciting and confident, with plans to travel the
world. He seemed adventurous and friendly, and his deep voice made me weak at the knees.
After our first meeting, we were inseparable, and one night without him seemed an age.
It was a fairytale – Steve rode in and swept me off my feet, and after only three months of dating
we were married.
After a year of marital bliss, things were perfect. Steve was well connected, and a respected
member of our local community. He attended Lawyer’s Council dinners and Masonic balls, and
even received an invitation to the Royal engagement party! The chance to see Kate and Wills in
the flesh, what grandeur!
But unfortunately he was called into work at the last minute, and despite him assuring me to go
alone, I waited patiently at home.
After the wedding Steve had moved in with me, and had been trying for a year to sell the London
apartment. There were a few admin problems along the way, and he was borrowing more and
more money off of me – as most of his was tied up in the sale.
Then one day, I had a phonecall. There had been a fire at the boat yard and Steve needed help –
the insurance had been cancelled weeks before, without his knowing. I hesitated. I had been
growing more wary of the amounts of cash I was pouring into Steve and his various accounts.
Deep down I knew he was fleecing me, but I had grown attached to him, I loved him.
Gone was the strong, independent businesswoman I once was, and here I was a needy, pathetic,
mess. I confided in my friend Sue, who supported me, and told me to stand up to him – just say
no, she said.
So I did.
“But you’re my wife, you OWE me!” Steve bellowed. “It’s your responsibility!” I was shell-‐
shocked, I’d had no idea he was only in it for the money. I told him if he felt that way he should
leave, and he did, but not before calling me a desperate old cow and threatening to set the house
alight. That night, I lay in bed in fear.
In the morning, I awoke with a feeling of sadness. No matter if he had used me, Steve was still my
husband and he needed my help. So I called the insurance company to argue his case, however
they had never heard of a Steve Campbell. Confused, I made some calls, and searching the house
found ‘the address’ of the boat yard. Over 40 miles away, I had never been – I set off in the car
only to find a large NCP car park, which the attendant assured me, had been there for 15 years.
When I arrived home, Steve had gone. With a large amount of our jewelry, designer clothes and
the Porsche, along with my purse. I felt empty.
The company was a lie. Steve was a conman, and the glamorous lifestyle was all an act. I
wondered if I would ever hear from him again – when just a few weeks later a letter came
through my door. Steve was filing for divorce.
With no prenuptial agreement, what is mine is his. He is requesting I pay his legal fees, of £58,000
and pay him maintenance of £5,000 a month – as he has ‘grown accustomed to the lifestyle I
provided’. These claims are absurd and I am not that well off – if he succeeds, the divorce will
cripple me. And I have been told with his ‘connections’, Steve has a good case.
He lied to me from day one. The company, the London apartment. I doubt he was even invited to
the Royal celebrations. I am not after sympathy, I have been a wealthy old fool, guilty of listening
to her heart and forgetting her head. I’m serving as a warning to others -‐ that no matter how
perfect your fairytale, remember they could be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
News report -‐ for The Mirror.
Medical experts have called for David Cameron to make urgent changes to the UK’s food and
In a damning letter to the PM, doctors have called for an overhaul to the system and better
monitoring of the countries nutrition as increasing costs and lower wages are resulting in food
Officials have claimed the rise of this food poverty is a direct reversal of the huge improvement in
food availability and affordability since World War 2.
With UK food prices rising by 12% since 2007, when in the same 6 year period workers have
suffered an almost 8% fall in wages. These losses are directly affecting our diet, lifestyle and
health. Where the nation isn’t going hungry, our diets are suffering – losing out on basic
Swapping fresh fruit and veg for ready meals and takeout, diets are missing fundamental
vitamins and are high in fat, sugar and salt – but low in cost. The healthy fresh option, like salads,
fish and poultry and replaced with cheaper, long-‐lasting, cost effective alternatives, such as
crisps, biscuits and pastries.
And when the money runs out, families are forced to resort to emergency food aid in the form of
food banks – with more and more households unable to afford a decent diet, these numbers are
However, officials stress that these numbers cannot truly indicate the amount of people in need,
because many only ask for help as an absolute last resort. The numbers on record are just the tip
of the (unaffordable) Iceberg.
The letter, signed by 170 officials, calls for the Government’s help in helping the public and the
food industry to take the healthier route.
“Our role is to improve the health and wellbeing of the people we serve, and failure to do so will
come with immense costs the individuals, families, communities, employers, and the NHS”. With
all of these under threat, is it only a question of time – when will officials face up to the issues
surrounding food, poverty and health.
Creative non-‐fiction for the Metro’s ‘Escape: travel’ section.
Ever fancied hurling yourself out of a moving aircraft? Sounds absurd, but skydiving is rapidly
becoming one of the UK’s most popular day-‐out activities, with over 320 centers dotted around
the country. We sent reporter Canada Berryman to find out what all the fuss is about.
I wake up on the morning of the dive with the taste of bile in my mouth; the taste of rusty metal,
like I’ve been sleeping whilst sucking on an old spoon. My back and forehead are clammy with
sweat already and I’ve barely roused yet; I can hear birds singing outside my window as dread
washes over me. It’s today.
Heaven knows why I signed myself up for this. Petrified of heights since I was a child, a skydive
has always been my worst nightmare, but after hundreds spent on self-‐help books, therapy
sessions and even, I’m ashamed to admit, hypnosis, there was only one thing left to do. Face my
I drew back the curtains to a crisp, clear February day. One of those where the sky is a rich royal
blue, and there are cotton-‐wool clouds sprinkled along the horizon; one of those skies you see on
the back of a British Airways mag when you’re seated on a plane. A Boeing 747, with locked
doors and a smiling cabin crew to take care of you, right until landing, as you sit-‐back with a
vodka slimline and some peanuts.
After a quick shower I shuffle downstairs for some breakfast, although not entirely sure my
gurgling tummy will agree. Skip the make-‐up today, my mascara might claim to be waterproof
but I highly doubt it will cope with plummeting to the ground face first; besides, I’m expecting a
few tears today.
My mobile bleeps and the doorbell rings at the same time, are they here already? I check my
watch and realize 45 minutes have slipped by whilst I’m munching tasteless, cardboard toast,
and sipping lurid yellow orange juice. My friends are pleased to see me, and excited for the day
ahead; two others are jumping with me, but neither have a crippling phobia like mine.
I sit in the back of the car, staring out the window at the grey tarmac of the road. Scenic Salisbury,
the setting of our experience today, is a good hour’s drive away but as with breakfast, the hour
melts into minutes and I realize my morning has been robbed; like a thief in the night my fear has
sped up time. It’s midday, and we are here.
We are taken into a small room where I sit with my hands clasped in my lap. The lights dim down
and a short film tells us about the centre, their professional divers, and their safety record. We
are told the technique behind the diving, the position you will be in when you jump, when you
are freefalling, and when you land. We are told that when the force from the speed of you falling
becomes equal with the force of gravity, your falling speed will not accelerate anymore; this is
known as ‘terminal velocity’. Terminal? I gulp. Who on earth thought that one up?
After our ‘diving induction’, we are set free. I step outside into the sunlight, as my eyes adjust I
watch the many small prop planes taking off and whizzing around. We are told the wait may be a
while; wind conditions and runway slots and other aero-‐trivia I didn’t take in. As I settle on a
picnic bench with a warm coffee clutched in front of me, I relax a little. There are a fair few
people here now, friends and family of the jumpers, a small group of volunteers for one of the
charity jumps. I can’t make out what their t-‐shirts say, but I give one a friendly smile. She flicks
me an encouraging thumbs-‐up, and a grin from ear to ear. Maybe I can do this?
I sit up a little straighter and let out a big sigh. As I do, a firm hairy hand clamps down on my
“Canada? You guys are up next. You’re jumping with me?”
My stomach drops. My heart is pounding in between my eyeballs and my breathing ragging. The
strapping gentleman introduces himself as Bill, and helps me into a padded navy jumpsuit, as he
shunts me into the smallest plane I have ever seen. I count quickly – 5 people. There are 5 people
in this plane. These could be the last 5 people I ever see.
The plan rattles along the ground, jostling me around in the back. I almost forget I’m sat on the
lap of a 15 stone giant, and if my mind weren’t whirring faster than the props on the wings, I
would have hoped to land on top of him.
Bill points out the dials, a few feet away in front of the captain. He shouts about us climbing, I see
the dial jolt round, 7,8,9,10,000 feet!
I stare out the window and the view is astounding. Picturesque, quintessential English
countryside, I can see sprawling green fields, and forests; it’s like a John Constable landscape, a
beautiful painting hanging on a wall. Bill’s huge arm extends out in front and he points out Stone
Henge, and in the distance I can see the boats and the coast of Southampton. My heart is racing,
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