Political column – September 23
"I've been stabbed!" gasped the man as I leaned over him.
He clutched his side and groaned.
And this on my holiday.
It was around midnight and constant loud music had been keeping the neighbourhood awake. There was then a commotion, shouting and swearing, and I peered out of the bedroom window to see a man on the car park over the road. A shadowy figure ran towards him from a car which, it seems, had been the source of the racket.
Cripes, I thought. There's going to be a fight. There was a confrontation, although in the darkness I couldn't see what, if anything, happened, but it wasn't a fight in any event. Then the figure ran back to the car which reversed and drove off in an extravagant manner as the gentleman, who I took to be a local who had remonstrated with them, walked across the car park towards the street with what I thought might be a stick, but turned out to be his crutch.
I watched from my vantage point to check he was all right. He stopped at the side of the road and was making a call on his mobile when he suddenly keeled over and collapsed, lying motionless.
In my pyjamas I ran down the stairs, out of the front door, and across to him. He was flat on his back. He'd been stabbed, he said.
He was wearing a white shirt, but I couldn't see any blood. I heroically called 999 on my mobile.
"What service do you require?" "Police! Ambulance! There's a man in the street who says he's been stabbed."
I parted his fingers to inspect the wound. There was a crescent-shaped mark on his skin on his left lower abdomen.
"Where have you been stabbed?" The victim groaned in pain and indicated the area. I looked again. By this time a young couple who had been on the beach and had heard the commotion had arrived and the man helpfully illuminated the area with his mobile phone.
"I can't see anything," I told the victim.
"Puncture wound!" he gasped.
"Lift up his shirt to look," said the operator, still on the line. I did. Still couldn't see anything, anywhere.
"Turn him over and look at his back."
The gentleman was of ample proportions so I asked the young man to help. The victim suddenly fell worryingly quiet. Time for a crash course on CPR or mouth-to-mouth. But then he groaned again.
On his back, apart from a tattoo, there was nothing to be seen.
Operator: "What's his name?" Me: "What's your name?" "Nick."
That wasn't his real name, but there's some sort of convention in reports like this not to give real names.
"What's your surname?" It was something unstraightforward, but he did give his exact address, a street in the resort, which would surely help the police identify him. Nick was 56.
Operator: "What's his breathing like?" It was sort of gasping.
"Is there any blood on him, on his head, on the ground?" No.
By now more and more people had gathered and I looked up for a moment and caught the eye of the young man. He made a motion by his mouth with his hand. A drinking motion.
Having had a glass of red wine earlier in the evening, I had not smelt anything.
The ambulance arrived and for the first time I was able to stand up and step back. Police arrived soon afterwards. I told the officer what I knew of what had happened, and he took my details. They would get in touch with me if they needed to, he said.
It's been over a week now and I've heard nothing, so I assume that all was well with Nick and there was no need for an investigation.
This was in a small south coast resort. The beach was shingle, there was lots to do, and we were lucky enough to go in that good week of weather.
But we probably won't be going back there again, and not because of that night of drama. It's more a case of been there, done that.
And after all, Wales is a lot closer, and you get sand on Barmouth beach.