Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Here's Hoping Our Ghost Is a Reader

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Here's Hoping Our Ghost Is a Reader

Article excerpt


IAM trying to be nicer, truly I am, though finding it more of a Brian Blessed Everest attempt than a mere uphill struggle.

But I really must endeavour to set a decent example to the baby.

With his powers of imitation improving by the day, my wife and I are also striving to adjust our vocabulary so that, for example, the most shocking F-word in our repertoire is fiddlesticks. This too is not without its challenges, particularly given the standards of other people's motoring nowadays.

Then I discovered at the weekend that it may not be only our input we have to worry about.

Although after midnight, I was still wide awake when the whispering voice came clearly over the baby monitor, causing the hairs on the back of my neck to stand on end in the way that happens so often in bad novels, but very rarely indeed in real life. Or mine, at any rate. I urgently shook my beloved awake to tell her that someone - or something - was talking to our son, but by the time she had come round enough to take it in, it had, naturally, stopped.

Luckily she did not immediately ring for the men in white coats to take me away, because the previous day she had been puzzled to find his nursery light switched on when she went in to him in the morning. And not by either of us.

Added to which, we had both heard footsteps in his bedroom on more than one occasion when we were downstairs. In fact, I have been hearing those footsteps regularly since 1987, but as a hardened sceptic I have variously dismissed them as the noise of expanding hot water pipes, the dog, mice wearing hobnail boots or simple hallucinations.

Now, when we hear the baby happily chattering away in the early morning, we will no longer be able to assume that he is simply talking to his teddy bear.

I just hope his invisible friend comes from an age when higher standards of politeness prevailed. …

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