Sunday, 4 November 2012

Storm in a teacup?

The story I am about to tell you took place several years ago when we lived in a different house to where we now call home, though it's in the same area by the sea. At the time, my eldest daughter was about to go off to University, and my younger daughter would commence College that September. We had spent the summer at home, enjoying some gorgeous weather.





Both girls had vacation jobs at our local pub and, on this particular day, had just returned from their evening shift. During that very fine, dry day, I had observed that a neighbour had lit a bonfire to burn his garden rubbish. When my younger daughter went up to bed, she shouted down to us that the neighbour's hedge appeared to be on fire. My elder daughter and I looked out and saw that flames from the bonfire had, indeed, reached out to the hedge and were fast approaching my near neighbours' garden and our own. 

We immediately contacted the fire brigade, and woke up our elderly near neighbours, who had already retired for the night. My elder daughter ran to the neighbour's house where the fire was, but no-one was home. While we were waiting for the firemen to arrive, we decided to make up a human chain with buckets of water to try and stop the fire encroaching into our houses and gardens. The fire was really crackling by now. Everything was incredibly dry, and the fire moved like lightening along the hedge. We asked another neighbour for help as my elderly neighbours were unable to lift the buckets. It was very dark and as our houses were off the beaten track, we sent one of our elderly neighbours off in her dressing gown, carrying a torch, to guide the firemen towards our homes.

While the four of us were racing around with the buckets of water, we heard the fire engine approaching. The fire engine arrived in our neighbours' driveway and as it pulled in, the firemen were already jumping out. However, in their haste, the driver hadn't pulled on the handbrake and the engine rolled slowly forward towards the flames. There were several screams (mainly from my throat) and one of the firemen climbed quickly back on board and brought the engine to a halt. After that slight hiatus, the fire was quickly put out. We looked a very bedraggled bunch; we were wet, tired and smelt heavily of burning rubbish. My elder daughter's legs were shred to pieces from running through the field with the water buckets. Into this scene came the neighbour and his wife, returning from a night out, rather tiddly, wearing finery for a Ball. They couldn't believe their eyes. He had thought that he had dampened down the fire sufficiently to leave it. He was covered in embarrassment.

After clearing up the hose pipe and buckets, we said goodnight to all our neighbours and once indoors, my younger daughter went off to bed and my elder daughter and I made ourselves a drink and, as it was a warm night, went to sit out on our balcony that overlooked the scene of the crime fire. Just then, there was a crack of thunder and the heavens opened up with the heaviest downfall of rain we had seen for weeks. We both laughed loudly. 

If only it had rained a couple of hours earlier, maybe I wouldn't have had this story to tell and be able to join in with Sian's Storytelling Sunday. The theme this month is 'a dark and stormy night'. Well, it was certainly dark and the storm clouds brewed for a long time between my elderly neighbours and the one's where the fire started but, maybe, that's a story for another time...

19 comments:

Mary B said...

wow that was some story of co-operation in the face of adversity. hope the guilty party made up for the dark deed.

alexa said...

My goodness, that was well spotted and swiftly taken charge of! Yes, blooming rain - timing is always out :).

Jennie Hart said...

Oh rain, rain, rain such a nuisance and it could be so useful too lol.

Great story, really well told :)

Sian said...

Gosh, that's some story Irene! I'm really struck by the image of the fire engine rolling towrads the fire and I think I would have been screaming at that point too. And then the storm came? What a weird and wonderful night that really must have been..

Thanks Irene, there's a lot in this one for me to go away and think about

Missus Wookie said...

Oh scary stuff - and yes typical that the rain came AFTER the fire had been put out!

So glad it was spotted and you were all able to work to contain it. Fire is so unpredictable.

Miriam said...

Oh my goodness what a scary story! I love your picture it suits your story perfectly. Thank goodness for your neighbours, at least the ones that were at home that night!!

humel said...

Oh my word! How fortunate that your daughter spotted the fire in time, since the rain's timing was completely out....

Alison said...

Fortunate indeed that your daughter spotted the fire.....the stormy clouds between your neighbours sound intriguing!
Alison xx

Lisa-Jane said...

Good grief! How lucky everyone was that your daughter was so eagle eyed?! Is this the same daughter that has just brought her precious baby home? I read through your news and I am so glad everything worked out for the best and again lucky that she had the foresight to go to the hospital. Two great stories x

Mel said...

Wow what a dramatic event and how heroic of you all to step in!

Amy said...

Well I am glad you could laugh at the end of it all ... we have actually had a similiar experience with neighbours and fires they thought they had put out - I know how it feels!

Cheri said...

Wow! What a crazy and exhausting night for you! Very good of you to try putting the fire out. Hope the guilty party appreciated your efforts.

S said...

Great story of everyone rallying around to help. I'm sure there were mixed feelings about whether to be cross with the neighbor or whether his guilt and embarrassment was punishment enough. Thank goodness for neighbors, and for the rain so that you would all sleep feeling a little more certain the fire was out.

KathiJo said...

That's a great story..I love that you say the farmer was covered in embarassment.. good to join you guys on SSS x

Maria Ontiveros said...

An amazing story and so well told!!! I love the variety of things to be found on Storytelling Sunday.
Thanks for sharing,
Rinda

furrypig said...

gosh that story could have had a very different ending! Thank goodness yr daughter noticed the fire and that you all worked together to prevent it's spread!

Jimjams said...

Beautifully told - and quite typical that it rained afterwards! Glad nobody was badly hurt.

Chipper said...

WOW! It is very thankful that your daughter spotted the flames or it could have turned out much worse. At least you could laugh at the rain, it probably felt very good to do so.

Mitra Pratt said...

Oh goodness! This was quite the event!!! Thanks for sharing!!!