We’d spent a cold winter’s day outside bearing the brunt of the elements and were chilled to the bone. We needed a plan of action to keep our spirits up; as soon as we got home, I’d rustle up some warming pasta and Dom would make a fire. One of life’s simple pleasures is to cosy up in front of a real fire whilst the temperature outside plummets and we were both looking forward to a night off from our Spice duties.
Stopping off at the local supermarket, we stocked up with all the goodies needed for a temporary shut-in and an evening of mindless TV lay before us. So far, so good. Dom had finished his meal, but I was still only half-way through mine. This is never a good sign. As they say, the devil makes work for idle hands. The fire was warming us up nicely when Dom fed it with the remnants of a large burnt-out candle. We’d put spent tea-lights on the fire before without incident, but this was different. The fire blew upwards and outwards like a giant fireball, how it remained in the fireplace still mystifies me. A deafening whooshing sound filled the room, similar to Concorde ripping through the skies. I was up on my feet, stamping out any sparks that escaped onto the exposed wooden floorboards whilst Dom rushed outside. Sparks were flying out of the chimney and all the internal walls were red-hot.
“Grab any valuables and get out of the house!” he screamed, grabbing the phone to call the emergency services.
“Emergency, which service do you require?”
“Fire service – I’ve set fire to the chimney!”
“Do you live in a thatched roof or a tiled roof house, sir?”
This simplest of questions confused the hell out of Dom.
“I don’t know!”
Luckily, we live in a tiled roof house, but as to why he couldn’t recall this basic piece of information still baffles me. Now our little house isn’t the easiest to find in the pitch black, so I spent the next twenty minutes waiting outside in the freezing, driving rain, waiting to flag down the fire engine and direct the firemen to our house. Calmly and quickly they extinguished the fire, gave us a talk on the perils of fire abuse and disappeared into the cold winter’s night.
When we re-told this experience to our Spice members, their reactions fell into two categories:
- “At least you’re okay / hope there was no lasting damage”
- “Did you sign any of them up!”
Hopefully not too many women can say they spent a Saturday night with a group of firemen in their lounge, unless it’s under very different circumstances.