I am not allowed to take photographs in Lancaster Castle.
I have taken a photograph.
Because I was not allowed to take a photograph all I thought about was taking a photograph. Amazing photographic opportunities swam before my eyes. My elderly Samsung 3 was getting moist in my hands. Gargoyles leapt, angles pointed towards an obvious frame with a definite Interesting Thing inside it. But I am not allowed to take a photograph.
I am about to witness some ghost stories inside Lancaster Castle. I love any opportunity to be in Lancaster Castle in the dark. I also love ghost stories. The crowd annoys me as I feel I am the only person in the world to love ghost stories and also Lancaster Castle and the crowd do not treat the experience with the relevance the occasion deserves. Some of them are with friends. Some of them smile and joke.
We are split into separate groups and we go to the a room where people were hanged to hear some ghost stories. This seems strange to me. Here, in a room where so many people shuffled through in mortal terror to die a horrible death, where so many stories and lives are left dangling, we listen to ghost stories about somewhere else.
But, but but- a fictionalised account of a hanging would make a mockery of the suffering that has actually occurred and a true account would nullify a jolly evening of ghost stories because the actual truth of death and suffering is not something to spend seven pounds on-especially on a first date.
I think the woman opposite me is on a first date. Her pure exquisite boredom rolls off her in impressive sneering waves. Her slightly awkward but pleasant young ‘partner’ puts a comforting hand around her. I feel her flinch from across the room. Her eyes roll like waves, the whites a flash of ocean. She slumps further and further towards the cold stone floor. I have forgotten what the story is about and probably look a bit stalkerish.
A jolly lady with white hair informs me she is related to Alice Nutter. This impresses me more than it should.
There are no MR James stories this year. This saddens me more than it should.
A well read story surrounded by instruments of torture about a couple going to a Cornish village and finding it strangely deserted and empty makes me want to leap up and shout ‘That’ll be the second homers, lol!’
Fortunately I don’t.
The eye rolling woman has collapsed extravelently yet taughtly in her nervous paramour’s arms.
I become mildly xenophobic when an American woman reads a ghost story. No ghost stories should be read in an ancient crumbling haunted castle and feature fucking Cape Cod. Yes, I am channeling the spirit of Nigel Farage right now. A sentence I never thought I would say. The eye rolling girl is slumped somehow sarcastically grimly defying the nervous arm of the nice man. I suspect if an actual spectre appeared, she would sneer at it and say something sarcastic.
I wish I was her. But instead of a spectre, I have taken a sneaky picture fortified by a 125 ml glass of wine in a plastic cup of a ceiling. A ceiling in the castle.
This may be the last thing I ever write.
Anyway, got to go- someone is knocking in the door.