I shouldn’t be here. Not really. When I consider the number of times that I should have genuinely died, I shouldn’t be typing at all. It clearly wasn’t my time. And life is all about timing. I’m not a cat person. I am a dog person. I don’t know how many lives dogs are supposed to have. But I must have more than the average cat.
1.The first time I should have suffered grievous injury (or worse, that I can remember) I was aged about two. We were at a Safari Park and I didn’t like the lion clawing our tyres. So I got out the car and told the lion off, apparently. I told him or her that he or she was a ‘naughty lion’. My mother must have required oxygen at this point. I suspect the said lion needed much therapy.
2.As a wee tot, I would only wear, eat or engage with anything that was ‘custard colour’, after my hero, Dougal, from ‘The Magic Roundabout’. Even my dad had to spray paint his VW Camper Van custard colour. I was a strong-minded little bugger, even then.
I was wearing custard colour socks in a terribly grandiose Parisian banker’s house, aged five or so. The marble staircase went from top to bottom of the very tall home. You can see where this is going…and yes, I slipped and fell all the way down the staircase. Apparently, my mother needed a tranquilizer. I just got up and skipped about. I rolled down five flights of stairs unscathed. I wear slippers these days.
3 and 4.I must have loved the floor as my next two near escapes were on pavement. Head first. And I have the scars to prove it. I’m not sure if I was made of rubber but I bounced up again. War wounds added to the drama of course. My mother’s heart must have been suffering somewhat by the time I reached eight or nine. Scrambled my brains all this bouncing around, I am sure.
5.When I was 19 I lived in Israel before I went to University. I would have stayed in Israel, done the Army and Uni but mother wouldn’t let me. So, I made the most of my adventure time. On a few of my days off I went to Dahab in Egypt, as most people did, back in the day. And I caught dysentery as most people also did. But unfortunately for me, a local Arabian witch doctor decided that he wanted to ‘take the devil out of my body’ and performed a ritual on me. In Dahab, surrounded by candles and Capri Sun (the drink, not a three quarter length stylish sun). I haven’t drunk a Capri Sun since. He actually took a bite out of my forehead. I screamed so loud, I think they could have heard me in Jordan. I had a scar on my forehead for months. Everyone on Kibbutz thought it was highly amusing when I returned to Israel.
6.In 1996 (I think) I went to Mauritius on a Tatler shoot with Tamara Mellon (Jimmy Choo) and Tania Bryer. To launch a new hotel there. The very dramatic and moody French photographer decided that he wanted to shoot on a remote island stroke circle of sand somewhere in The Indian Ocean that no one had ever heard of. Whilst the girls hurried back to the Touessrok Hotel in a taxi post-shoot, once they were landside, yours truly and the said photographer went the scenic route. By boat. As an avid seawoman, I thought this would add colour to my trip – wind in the hair and all that.
Alas, the wind almost ripped my head off, taking on the form of a gale. Swathed in wet towels to keep me weighted down, the boat was rocking at 90 degree angles. The coastguard apparently lost us. At least I would have gone in style. In Mauritius. On a Tatler shoot. Dahhhling. We got to shore eventually. I arrived looking almost as glamorous as the women eating their lettuce leaves at dinner. Not.
7.I worked at Miss World in The Seychelles in 1997. Awful place. Full of witch doctors and freaky rain forests. We kept on getting lost going from one side of the island to the other. There was only one road. It is one of the strangest places I have visited. Whilst walking on the beach, a coconut fell from a tree. Probably an inch from my ‘rubber’ head. Literally, an inch away. Once again, my headstone would have been classy. “Miranda Leslau. Died at Miss World in The Seychelles”. At a glance people might have thought I won Miss World. HAHA.
8.It was a giraffe the next time. In Port Elizabeth, South Africa, on safari. This grumpy giraffe decided he didn’t like us lot on the jeep and tried to swipe us off a number of times. You know when you are in trouble with a giraffe as they spread their impressive legs, steady themselves, sway their head from side to side in preparation and then take a swipe. It’s a bit of a game to them. It was a close call. Twice.
9.You lot already know about 7/7. I predicted what would happen at Liverpool Street and told the Police to clear the area the night before. They didn’t take any notice of course. And I should have been on that Piccadilly Line train.
10.I was pretty ill over the years. In and out of hospital. I walked into The Wellington c.2005 and the consultant thought I had 48 hours to live. They hooked me up to a drip and gave me the wrong meds. Or indeed the wrong dosage. I just lay there very still, counting and actually saw the white light. This is what I do to this day when stressed. I count. I do the same when planes start getting bumpy. I was sure that if I counted for long enough it would just pass and I would come out the other end of the tunnel, alive.
11.My most scary brush with death was when I was drugged in a Marbella nightclub. Roofied. Me and a colleague at the same time. It was the scariest experience of my life. I must have lost about five hours. I was robbed and found crying in the middle of the street. I have no idea how or why I did this but I drove home. I remember seeing the central reservation before my eyes. I have no idea how I got home. I even had the presence of mind to remove my heels and put on flip flops. I wasn’t drunk, the feeling was way different to being drunk. It was the strangest experience of my life and one I never wish to revisit. There are some evil people out there.
And so we come to modern day me. You notice how I didn’t even mention the dreaded C. Nah. It begins with C. Like custard colour. Dougal wouldn’t let that happen to his greatest fan. Be. More. Dog. Eleven lives and counting. There’s a lot of life left in this old dog.