About Me

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London, United Kingdom
Holly Searle is a writer who was born in Westminster in the middle of London. She shares her birthday with Jarvis Cocker and David Seaman and like Jarvis Cocker she wears glasses but has nothing whatsoever in common with David Seaman. She is fascinated by words, people and their stories, and regularly spends hours fantasising about being offered a weekly column. She has a degree in Film and Television which she gained from Brunel University in 1997. She has been blessed with two quite remarkable children whom she adores. She enjoys the company of her friends and the circus that is life. Long Walk to Forever by Kurt Vonnegut is her favourite short story. She is the author of the published children's tale The Story of Balan Singh, and is currently working on her first book.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Swoonage By Holly Searle




Have you ever fainted?

If you have, you'll know just how horrible it is.

One minute you're fine, and then the next, you start seeing purple flashes in front of your eyes, then your ears start to ring, and then the next thing you know, you are waking up surrounded by people staring at you.

It is one of the most frighteningly and vulnerable things you can experience.

When I was a child, I used to faint on a regular basis. I have no idea why this occurred, but it was just awful, as it prevented me from taking part in activities and events that I was looking forward to immensely.

On one occasion, I was being taken to see Father Christmas at Selfridges in Oxford Street as a pre Christmas treat.

I remember quite clearly having to queue up as prior to seeing himself, we were entertained by Uncle Holly. Well I saw him alright, and then the next thing I remember is being carried by my Dad to the Selfridge's sick room were I stayed until I was considered fit enough to go home.

I never got to see Father Christmas, but I still have my Uncle Holly badge, so at least that is something.

The next clear memory of this ever happening transpired during a family holiday to Cornwall or Devon.

I was queuing up (again) with my family, waiting to be seated in a restaurant, when I began to see those purple flashes.

My Mum turned to my Dad and said "Terry, take her outside, she is going to faint."

To which I responded, in a melodramatic manner "It's too late." before crashing to the floor of the restaurant, in a unceremonious heap.

This undoubtedly became an hilarious incident that my elder brother would mimic relentlessly throughout our formative years.

From then on, I guess being the subject of ridicule, pretty much kicked me into touch, as I began to recognise the early signs, and would take ever opportunity to prevent it from happening in public again.

Personal pride, it would seem for a short period at least, had cured me from these episodes.

However, then came The Bun Factory incident.

As a young adult, I found myself working for a company that decided that some of its employees should visit the bun factory that made and supplied its buns.

How exciting !

So off we all went.

As you can probably imagine, this was an incredibly dull and boring trip, and I can tell you in no uncertain terms, that if this opportunity should ever come your way, pull a sickie and stay at home and do something else instead. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was the fantasy kids, the bun factory, on the other hand, was the reality.

There were no Oompa Loompas, but rather a dullard corporation bod explaining how buns were made.

At one point we were all standing there nodding our heads like dogs on the parcel shelf of a car, trying to look interested, when an old familiar feeling started to consume me.

I thought "Oh please, not here." I mentioned to the guy standing next to me that I wasn't feeling too good and asked him if he wouldn't mind if I lent on him for support.

I shifted my feet, and started to panic, and then passed out on the concrete of the factory floor hitting my head in the process.

Great.

The next thing I knew, someone was trying to revive me with some foul smelling substance, that I was later told was industrial ammonia.

Genius.

Safe to say, I was let off the visit to the next factory that was part of our agenda for the remainder of the afternoon.

My head was pretty sore and I am sure I lost a few valuable brain cells that day.

Jump ahead to a photographer's studio on a hot summer's day a few years later.

I am an extra on a shoot that features a small crowd of people. It is some advert for the winter, so we are all wearing thick jumpers.

The photographer has us all in a tableau that he appears to think will work. He decides to take a polaroid to see if we look right on celluloid, before he starts shooting us with real film.

He takes the shot at the same moment that I fell to the floor.

Click. Thud.

My comic timing on that occasion, was perfect.

I was not in the advert, and I didn't get paid.

And if my foray into the world of extra work couldn't get any worse, I later took part in yet another photographic shoot on a roof top in Covent Garden with yet another small crowd of people.

This time it was a job for The Daily Star for a competition they were wanting to promote called Stargazing.

We were all instructed to Stargaze and look up.

I did this along with everyone else for quite a long period of time while the photographer was faffing about.

I held that position for as long as I could and then hit the deck as fast as a comet.

Crash.

Again, I lucked out and wasn't paid and ended up feeling like an idiot.

After that I went to see a doctor whose only advice to me was to carry a Mars bar (I kid you not) in my handbag, and to eat it at the first signs of a fainting episode.

I didn't do this, as the thought of choking on confectionery whilst in the process of loosing consciousness , seemed a little horrific to me.

I am happy to report, that since the Stargazing incident, I haven't passed out again.

I pretty much worked out that most of these fainting episodes are either down to excessive heat, low blood sugar, and the latter, to trapping a nerve in my neck.

Apparently if you look up for an extensive period of time, you can trap a nerve in your neck that causes you to faint.

So, armed with all of this knowledge, I now avoid standing for extended lengths of time in the heat whilst wearing an Aran sweater, make sure I eat something, and I do all my stargazing laying down.

And for now, I am happy to say, it appears to have worked.


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