Charming warts was read out on the BBC My Story series on 15th March 2006.
"Stop picking. You'll only make things worse," my mother shouted.
Perhaps, but at eighteen, unlike the obligatory bouts of acne, this problem refused to go away.
A finger on my left hand boasted a parasitic growth of momentous proportions. It seemed to have materialised overnight and blossomed like a bulbous mushroom...A WART?...Yeuch!!!!
Another appeared on the knuckle joint on my other hand a short time later. It was painful, and a visit to my GP resulted in an application of liquid drops which failed to evict the invaders. Subsequently, I was placed on a long waiting list for a more sinister form of treatment.
Some months later, I was having a pint in a local bar, chatting to a girl by the name of Anne. Admittedly, a discussion concerning warts with a female wouldn't be regarded as socially acceptable, but it transpired nonetheless.
She asked to see them and I reluctantly agreed.
Her reaction was surprising. "Just the two I see. I'll buy them
I was aghast...! A purveyor of warts?
She explained that she had been blessed with a gift for the curing of a number of ailments including ringworm, sprains, and allergies. If I placed a belief in her methodology, and agreed not to thank her, she would place a silver coin in the palm of my hand and the warts would disappear. She revealed there were alternative cures. One included rubbing the wart with a slug and hanging it from a thorn bush. I decided accepting the coin was the easier option.
" I warn you however," Anne murmured, pressing a fifty pence piece into my palm." Passing this coin on will pass on the warts."
"What have I got myself into?" I thought, quickly placing the coin into a small compartment in my wallet. As instructed, I avoided showing any gratitude for services rendered.
About a week later, as I was washing my hands, there was a noticeable absence of the usual pain. I examined them during the drying process. I couldn't believe my eyes the warts had disappeared! I was absolutely flabbergasted!
A day later I was nosing my way out of the local car park and I passed a £5 note to the booth attendant. 'What am I supposed to do with this - it's only 40p' the voice from the booth called. 'Have you not something smaller?" slightly embarrassed and somewhat annoyed, I fumbled first through the untidy mess in the glove compartment, and then in my trouser pockets. The attendant's fingers drummed impatiently on his little counter, waiting. I pulled out my wallet. My wallet! Of course. "Sorry - just a minute. I should have something here." He muttered something and the finger drumming resumed. I fumbled through the contents of my wallet, then I fumbled through again, then I emptied the entire contents on the front passenger seat. Nothing . Except …'Oh here, fifty pee - don't know how I missed it. Sorry.' The drumming fingers stopped drumming and received my magical fifty pence coin and there was a surly grunt as he passed me back my change.
I always meant to go back and check how well his hand suited warts, but I never did.