No.21: Heights

Not everyone is scared of heights. I wasn’t. I remember scampering about on some scaffolding at the top of Chartres Cathedral on a school trip: I didn’t play chicken like some of the other kids but I wasn’t a wreck either. Now? You must be joking. I’m a bungalow guy till I die.

A lot of fears come from childhood and you never quite shake them off. Fears that grow through your adult life are rarer. They start off as a touch of nerves one day, an imagination that works just a little too quick, and then once there’s a seed in you it just grows. Maybe it was gravity – the heavier and slower I got the more comfortable solid ground seemed.

Railings bring it on the most, when there’s nothing between me and the edge I don’t get quite so worried. It’s not rational, but every time I’m near one I can’t help thinking, it’s never quite high enough – if you leaned just that bit too far forward… I see kids and teenagers in shopping centres or on bridges leaning, sitting, almost swinging on them. “How can they do that?” I think, and then I remember that when I was that age I might have too.