Today’s photograph in the 5 day challenge tells a cautionary tale.
In 2002 I was renting a small room in a shared flat in the Morningside area of Edinburgh. One evening, while my landlord (who also lived there) was away on holiday, I lit a candle in my bedroom as I sat up in bed to read. Some time later I got up to brush my teeth, preparatory to the night’s slumber. I flung off the duvet cover, hopped out of bed and trotted off to the bathroom.
A couple of minutes later my other flatmate knocked on the bathroom door to say that there appeared to be smoke coming from my bedroom. I went out into the hall and the two of us went to investigate.
When we reached the door there was indeed thick black smoke seeping out from all round the door frame. I pushed open the door and, to my horror, saw a fire engulfing my duvet. Without realising it, when I had jumped out of bed a few minutes earlier I had flipped the duvet into the candle flame.
We closed the door and rang the fire brigade. They came quickly and successfully extinguished the blaze, but not before the entire room had been blackened and everything inside it covered in a thin greasy layer of soot. That night I slept in my landlord’s bed, relieved that he’d been away when I’d set fire to his house. The following day I cleaned the walls of the bedroom and prepared the room for repainting.
A few days later the room was freshly painted in white (which was much nicer than the dark blue it had been originally) and all that remained of the fire was my burnt and buckled belongings and a whiff of smoke.
During their excellent work, the fire brigade had removed my burnt mattress and left it outside in the gutter to be collected by the local Council. It is this reminder of my folly that I have chosen as my photo for day 2 of the 5 day challenge.
This event put me right off candles but I’m sorry to say it wasn’t my last brush with the fire brigade. A few years later, while renting a flat in Aberdeen, I stupidly laid a teacosy on top of a lit hob and wandered off into another room oblivious of what I’d done. When the fire brigade came they gave me a bottle of water and let me sit in the fire engine, which was very exciting.