Monday, April 14, 2008

I nearly set fire to my head today. I'll set the scene: A couple of months ago we had some horrendous gales which knocked over a couple of trees in my Mum and Dad's garden. To make it easier to clear up in the immediate aftermath, to give Dad room to chainsaw the trunk and bigger branches into logs for the fire, all the smaller branches were heaped in my garden - where they've sat for ages waiting for something to be done with them.

A few weeks ago I decided that the weed and scrub infested patch of garden outside my kitchen window was going to be cleared of all the weeds and scrub and become a vegetable garden. So, from time to time, as the weather and kids have allowed, I've been grubbing up all the incredibly invasive and evil Common Snowberry (aka Symphoricarpos albus, aka "Bobblebush"), Common Nettle, and Raspberries that had woven this impenetrable mesh of roots all over the place. The Snowberry was the worst. It's tenacious stuff Bobblebush. Digging it up is like trying to dig up a mattress. As I wrestled this bastard stuff out of the ground I threw all the roots, and sticky-uppy bits, into a huge heap in the garden (a different bit) where they've sat for ages - waiting for something to be done with them.

Today was the day I did something with them.

Down at one end of the garden is a big hole that was supposed to be a pond but I got bored with digging it - and then we got kids and we didn't think having a pond with toddlers was such a good idea - and I really was bored with digging the hole. Big holes in the ground are great for burning things in. These days the proto-pond just gets garbage piled in it till we get bored of doing that - then we burn it.

Today was sunny and bright, with a light wind from the west (ie away from the house) in short, the perfect day for setting fire to a hole in the ground. So: empty in the waste paper bin, lob on a bag containing six months worth of old candle ends - and apply match. Whoomf! Spend the next four hours throwing things on top and getting all hunter-gatherish and primitive - Fire! Mongo like Fire. Fire good. Fire is our friend - until Merriol comes home from work and asks me why I am being all hunter-gatherish and primitive in my only decent shirt? (Answer: "Erm? - It was the one on top of my shirt pile this morning?") She made me go change it.

From time to time the bonfire would burst into sudden and impressive crackling and roaring life. Sometimes it would just sit there and smoulder until poked. When it flared up, sparks and hot ashes flew into the air. Occasionally a nearby part of the garden would start to smoulder and need some water thrown at it. During one of the more spectacular flare-ups I heard another crackling noise, like the one coming from the bonfire, but a lot closer. I turned around to see what was making the noise - and the noise moved with me.

I'm glad to say it didn't take me THAT long to realise my hair was on fire. A few slaps round my ear and it was out.

I've never set my head on fire before. It's not an experience I think I'll repeat in a hurry.


2 comments:

John Self said...

I am going to begin a campaign to have more blog posts begin with the words "I nearly set fire to my head today."

pj said...

Wow. Tyler would have loved to have joined you.

I've set fire to my hair and also to my shoulder once, while wearing a particularly flammable 40's dress. Nothing quite like the smell of burning hair or viscose (or whatever it's called)

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