Judith Halliday

Was It A Ghost In The Machine?

Mysterious, midnight music ...

Posted on: 14/10/2013   By: Judith Halliday

A few years ago, we were spending our first Christmas in our new house. We'd only been there a few months and we'd recently decorated the downstairs, enjoying mulled wine and Christmas carols as we did so ...

Once we realised the cause I slept well for the first time in a week!

Once we realised the cause I slept well for the first time in a week!

That night, as we lay in bed, there was a strange noise from downstairs. Choral music ... Christmas carols had begun to play, all by themselves, in the lounge.

Full of bravado, the man of the house went down to see what was going on and the hi-fi unit had switched itself on. We weren't sure how... but hey!! The following night, the same thing happened. Carols From Kings, under their own steam, making their way out of our lounge. Then the next night, then the next!

Slightly spooked, we tried to think of an explanation, and couldn't. Perhaps a former resident had hated Christmas and wanted to drive us and our festive cheer, mulled wine and cinnamon scented candles out for good.

Lying in bed, trying to sleep and noticing every flickering shadow on the wall, suddenly, it dawned on me. When we moved, we turned the hi-fi off and so the clock reset itself to 0.00 or midnight. When we'd played the carols, we'd accidentally pressed the timer button and so, at midnight, the timer kicked in and we were treated to an increasingly haunting rendition of 'In The Bleak Midwinter'.

I slept well the rest of that night, for the first time in nearly a week!

It occurs to me that while there's almost always a sensible explanation for why something is happening, the story you tell is better if you don't let on about the everyday boring bit until right at the end. That way, you've got the attention of the listener or the reader, and the simple explanation at the end will merely tie everything up nicely.

So, you might have moved into a new shop. You might have taken on a new member of staff, or launched a new product. You could just tell everyone that, in plain, straightforward terms, or you could be creative. Look for a new angle, look for the unusual or the extraordinary. Maybe it won't occur to you immediately, maybe you'd be better off with a professional who is used to finding the story - the hook to hang the rest on - the line that will make people sit up and take notice.

Forgive me for this , but .... you always could have it ghostwritten!


Until next time ...


More about Judith Halliday ...

My writing career began under the bright lights of Gateshead in 1986 - who wouldn't love a job that offered the chance to listen to Gateshead Borough Council's Public Waste Committee debate the introduction of wheelie bins for three hours? It was the start of a working life that taught me what makes a good story and how to tell it and, although I don't have a news editor lurking ready to throw things at me any more, or so much of an interest in wheelie bins, my love of writing and a fascination with talking to people and telling their stories is as strong as ever.

Today I work for Business Times in Northampton and the Northants Evening Telegraph as well as providing copywriting services and press releases for a number of local companies.

When I'm not doing that, I indulge in the things I love most, which include, in no particular order: my teenage children, Sunderland football club, my husband, chocolate, QI, Chinese noodles, my closest friends, Test Match Special, red wine, reading in bed, The Sound of Music and growing vegetables.


+44 (0) 7915 050279

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