Friday, 1 February 2002


I had just conducted a wedding and was on my way to Mount Vernon Hospital when the ambulance turned onto Kingwell Road just ahead of me.  I’m not sure, but perhaps I always speculate as to where an ambulance is going “Who do I know who lives over that way – I hope it’s not …”  In this case I live that way (and my family) but of course it couldn’t be (could it … ?).  As I turn up Pinfold Hill the two fire engines at the end of Kingwell have a slightly dreamlike quality about them.  On such an occasion it must be some kind of shock mechanism which stops all speculation at that point.  How odd to see firemen in our garden and then Beccy and her mum and the children on the pavement in obvious distress.  Thankfully, my greatest fears are relieved before I’ve even really acknowledged them and we begin to consider how lucky we have been.  As one of the firemen put it “I think you had better go and thank your boss …”
It certainly makes you think:
·          Have you got smoke alarms up where they should be and are the batteries okay?
·          Can you get out of your house if and when you need to?
(Beccy’s keys were in the smoke filled kitchen but luckily her mum was there and has a front door key.  It’s alarming to see that your nice home is a potential death trap.)
·          Have you got complacent about fire safety? – it’s fine to light candles but never leave them unattended.
It’s also a little bit ironic:
·          In my previous parish in Rotherham I was also a volunteer Fire Service Chaplain.
·          As a schoolgirl Beccy was a South Yorkshire Champion in a Fire Safety Competition.  (The Firemen did say that she did everything right after discovering the fire.)
What had happened was that a candle had been burning on the kitchen table.  It was left for a few minutes and by the time Beccy returned the table was on fire and the kitchen full of smoke.  Luckily, only the table was directly damaged and thanks to an ozone machine, courtesy of Ecclesiastical Insurance we are now back to normal with only the faintest smell of smoke discernible when you go into the kitchen first thing in a morning.  Jemima appears totally unaffected by the whole incident whilst Imogen has now stopped making fire engine noises though her favourite word is still ‘SMOKEY’.  In her own simple way she has been able to express what happened and I think that has helped her to assimilate it into her growing experience of life.  I doubt very much that she will be able to remember it in years to come but no doubt, like every deeply felt experience, it will have widened her understanding and affected the way that she looks at things.

Perhaps we can all ponder:
·          What events influence the way we see and understand the world?
·          Do they affect us for better or worse?
·          Would talking about them to someone make a difference?
Wishing you all a safe an happy February …

No comments:

Post a Comment