Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Hell's Kitchen

The funniest thing about the whole incident was the frying pan.

I walk into my local off-licence. The one conveniently located at the end of my street, one-minute and thirty-seconds walk away from my front door. I am feeling a bit twitchy.

Troll Woman behind the counter looks rather excited.

Me: [Gesturing at the shelves behind Troll Woman] Could I have that small bottle of bourbon please?

Troll Woman: Eee. Bit of excitement down your street. Someone telt us there’s Fire Engines and that.

Me: Yes. I know. Could I please have that small bottle of bourbon? Please.

TW: Du ya knaw whese hoose it was? The fire?

Me: Yes I do. Could I pretty please have that small bottle of bourbon?

TW: Aye. Whese then?

Me: What?

TW: Whese hoose is on fire?

Me: Mine.

TW: Eh?

Me: It’s out now. Could I please have that small bottle of bourbon? Please.

TW: Aye. You’re joking.

She notices the soot on my hands.

TW: [Wide-eyed] Everyone all reet? What aboot the bairns?

Me: Didn’t even wake. Could I please have that small bottle of bourbon?

TW: Aye. What happened?

Me: Look, could I just pleas- [sigh] I accidentally set the kitchen alight.

TW: [Suddenly strangely maternal] Ye daft bugga. [With complete lack of sympathy] Good start to the New Year. Bit of excitement for yu thun?

Yes well. There was nothing on television. Look. Could I please just have that small bottle of bourbon?

TW: Aye.

One-minute and thirty-seconds later I return to my home. I notice that although the firemen had left big boot-prints on the steps up to my front door, they had had the decency to wipe them on the way in and had not tracked any dirt into the front room.

There may have been lives at stake, but good manners cost nothing.

I glance at the new smoke alarm that the fire crew fitted whilst they were here and then pour myself a large drink. I pace about in a distracted manner for a while.

After a minute or two I brace myself. I walk back into the kitchen and survey the damage. It is then that I notice the frying pan.

Clean on the draining board.

After regarding the flames shooting up the wall, after giving instructions for the emergency services to be called, after turning the electric cooker off at the power point on the wall so the situation would not worsen, after sealing the door of the kitchen with me inside so the flames would not reach the rest of my house and my sleeping children, after – stupidly - tackling the fire myself and briefly making it worse, I did this:

Amid thick black smoke and the still-glowing embers of a potentially catastrophic kitchen-fire, I calmly washed a dirty frying pan that was languishing next to the sink without even realising I was doing it. So that the soon-to-arrive fire crew would not think we were slobs.

I put the pan back in the cupboard.

I look again at the smoke damage. Tired Mam joins me. She looks around.

Tired Mam: I’d only just cleaned-up in here.


Blogger FOUR DINNERS said...

least yer weren't singed yerself. Caz set allight to the tumble dryer tube last year. When I walked into the kitchen she was waving her hands around to clear the smoke as she chatted on the phone. Washing a dirty frying pan suggests a dna test. You related to my mrs or what?

4:12 pm  
Blogger Gordon said...

Yikes. You drink bourbon?!

Seriously though, glad no-one was hurt.. I have some dirty frying pans too if you want to pop round (up?)

10:25 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

m glad ur still walkin

3:21 am  
Anonymous sleepy said...

no idea why but reading that just made me burst into tears. at my desk at work. poo.

i think the people sat next to me are getting used to it by now.

glad you ok and only have a slightly toasted kitchen x

9:24 am  
Anonymous Dave said...

Glad to see you are back. Bourbon???? now seriously!

9:58 am  
Blogger Will said...

Permission to make a joke involving the phrase 'out of the frying pan into the fire'?

2:28 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

I am so glad no one was hurt.

3:00 pm  
Blogger Lee said...

Next time take the frying pan to the liquor store with you for quicker service.

3:40 pm  
Blogger Ms Melancholy said...

Nice blog, Mr Tired.

10:55 pm  
Anonymous looby said...

Oh God! Life's never dull for you, is it :)

Glad you're OK. Would be awfully early to shut down the blog.

12:40 pm  
Anonymous monkeymother said...

Reminds me of the time I tried to flambé a boeuf bourguignon (sorry, but I was in France at the time) with some 70 proof uncut cognac someone gave me.

I swear I only used a tablespoon, but the flames raged for five minutes, the filter in the cooker hood melted, dropping gloopy bits into the stew and monkeyfather tutted - the most irritating sound ever made by man. Oh, and the kitchen wall was black and no one cleaned the frying pan.

Happy New Year - good to have you back.

5:13 pm  
Blogger L>T said...

Hi! just wanted to tell you I meandered over here link by link throughout the UK,<---? proper term? I never know whether to say England or Britian or United Kingdom????which is it, anyway?

Anyway the point is I just want to tell you, I've spent a good 40 minutes reading through your posts. very entertaining!

9:02 am  
Anonymous Timbo said...

Cripes. You're so English it's worrying.

9:37 am  
Blogger Cynnie said...

you are my mother ..
( well like my mother )

We had a fire in the house when i was about nine..and mother made us tidy up before the firemen got there..
( just steer clear of the burning wall Cynnie..)

8:59 pm  
Blogger mad muthas said...

hmm - that seems to have woken you up. you must be awfully nicely brought up to have cleaned the pan while being partially asphyxiated. reading this makes me proud to be british. (and thank goodness you're all safe.)

11:56 pm  
Blogger fwengebola said...

But whit aboot the bairns? (Or somesuch colloquialism.)

12:15 am  
Blogger Pickled Olives said...

I am sending an American sized portion of sympathy for your kitchen and evening. I am sending over the New Yorkers lack of sympathy while I laugh out loud at your retelling. Hope 2007 is happy,and healthy for you.

3:33 am  
Blogger me said...

i'm impressed with your coolheadedness and calmness in the face of such peril (and for only a small bottle?)
I remember worrying about not wearing knickers while lying on the front step waiting for the ambulance to arrive while baby no.1 headed downwards. It is strange what we think of in moments of stress.
glad you have resumed posting, and hope 2007 improves for you all

8:14 pm  
Blogger BlogWhore said...


9:23 pm  
Blogger Clarissa said...


10:58 pm  
Anonymous Delboys Daughter said...

Ah like 'me' i remember when i was bleeding to death a week after having given birth over the bathtub (because i was in rented accom and didnt want to ruin the carpets) I was most concerned that the ambulance team came to my aid with my post two babies punum hanging out.

Glad you all are ok!

8:24 am  
Blogger Tired Dad said...

Dinners: Christ. If I were it would mean we were family. Jesus.

McLean!: No thanks. And it was the first time I'd drunk the stuff since I was sixteen. And quickly remembered why.

Pup: Thanks.

Sleepy: Honestly. Not worth crying over. And thanks.

Dave: Thanks. O.K, enough with the bourbon stuff.

Will: Denied, only because I am cross with myself for not thinking of it.

Rachel: I did singe my nasal hair.

Lee: You don't know this place. It wouldn't make any difference.

Ms. M: Thanks and welcome.

Looby: Thanks. No shutdown on the horizon, but an awful lot of ISP woe.

MM: I cleaned the wall as well. And thanks.

l>t: I lose track myself. Many thanks, and welcome.

Timbo: I know.

C: I don't know how to explain it.

Muthas: Thanks. Hey. Are you on telly?

F: They are fine. FD was amazed by the story for about one minute before forgeting all about it. She did draw a rather good picture of me wearing a fireman's hat and single-handedly tackling Hades.

PO: My thanks.

Me: thanks. And welcome. Erm.

BlogWhore: I KNOW.

Clarissa: You shouldn't.

DD: Happy New Year.

10:16 am  
Blogger mad muthas said...

yes - last night (for a nanosecond). i have no recollection of saying what i did, so i'm slightly concerned about what other drivel i may have come out with in the rest of the series.

10:50 pm  
Blogger Tired Dad said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:59 am  
Blogger Tired Dad said...

I shall make sure I actually watch it, instead of just seeing it in the schedules and thinking 'why does that sound familiar'. Sorry. I'm not a great telly person.

11:01 am  

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