Photo: Prettysleepy

A picture from the Appalachian trail today, a warning that fire can be our foe as well as our friend. Yesterday we had a reminder of this right on our doorstep.

I was helping Louis to wrap his Christmas presents. We’re both pretty crap at this but I am slightly better given that I’ve had about forty years more experience of making a hash of it. ‘Ooh flames!’ said Louis. I looked out of the window. The back garden of the neighbour over the road was ablaze but not in a kind of comforting bonfire kind of way.

I went outside to investigate and found our neighbour in a dazed and confused state. She’d just come back from walking the dog to the towering inferno in her back yard. Apparently she’d put the ashes from her hearth outside before going out. Unknown to her, they weren’t fully extinguished. They’d reignited and had managed to set fire to several tins of paint. Her greenhouse and next door’s garage were taking a beating from the flames. Children from the neighbourhood got very interested. ‘Can we sit on your doorstep and watch?’ asked one of the kids who’d been playing in the park a few yards away.

Now Hot Stuff likes a bit of blue light action. Before the fire brigade arrived he and a couple of other burly men with can do attitudes had managed to grab hoses and pretty much put it out. It was a good job that they intervened. It wouldn’t have been long before other properties would have been put at risk including my neighbour’s own home. I’d gone over with a spare hose and watched all that manly activity going on. The railings of the decking were getting quite warm.

So the moral of the story is obvious. It might even be more pertinent around Christmas time when more than the average quota of candles are burnt. Fire is bloody brilliant. I’m a proper pyromaniac at heart. But keep safe and be mindful of its power to destruct as well as to delight.

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