Earlier today I had occasion to correct a minor error concerning the provenance of the song 'My Favourite Things' . I have in the past extolled the magnum opus that constitutes the collected works of Rodgers and Hammerstein, but an exception has to be made for 'The Sound Of Music', one of the most excruciatingly maudlin squanderings of an otherwise challenging storyline in the history of the American musical. But this isn't about that. It's about narrow escapes.
I've had a few of these. I forced my way onto the delayed 8.31 to Paddington, rather than wait for the following 8.42, which crashed into the misrouted commuter train at Royal Oak. I chose the outside lane on the A303 seconds before the shunt in the middle lane that caused a fatality and a three hour tailback. But I'm thinking of what happened, two and a half years ago, in the caravan in Pembrokeshire.
It was a filthy Sunday afternoon. Pembrokeshire rain can be the wettest in the country. I was depressed and tired. Television was the only option. So I switched it on. It was 'The Sound Of Music'. Oh well, I thought. I settled down to watch, trying to be positive. Sometime shortly after the cute kids first traipsed on like infant stormtroopers, I heard a funny crackling noise. Funny noises happen all the time at White Park Farm, so I ignored it. But then I realised that not only was the noise coming from the TV, so was a nasty smell, and a flume of evil-looking black smoke. I knew what that meant.
I got the box unplugged and carted outside pretty fast, I can tell you. I think I poured a bucket of water over it. But here's the narrow escape. If I'd wandered over to the toilet block for a wee, as I'd been thinking of doing, that caravan would have been incinerated by the time I returned.
The worst part was that the song they were singing, at the cringe-making concert party, when all this began, was 'The Lonely Goatherd'. Imagine the rest of my day.