Candles and Coffee Pots

candlesOccasionally one does things that, in retrospect, with hindsight and reflection, lacked more than a degree of common sense. As the Spinster has a tendency to see the humour in places no-one else would I thought I’d share these cautionary tales with you.

Now generally speaking children should be kept away from matches, fire and lighted candles. But sometimes things collide and the two come together; last Saturday when my Godson (aged 5 in March) came to visit was one such occasion.

I try not to smoke in the same room that I will be reading his stories as I’d prefer not to be exposing him to anything nasty albeit indirectly. But sometimes there can be a lingering odour shall we call it ‘stale smokiness’ so I light a scented candle. Last Saturday Godson arrived when a Honey and Chocolate candle was flickering invitingly; I hadn’t blown it out in time.

The speed with which small children can find a hazard must be assisted by some special powers of intuition as he was by the lighted candle in milliseconds! Displaying child like curiosity coupled with a curiously familiar lack of spacial awareness he lent towards the flame whilst simultaneously wriggling out of his coat. Small people seem not to bother undoing zips/buttons or fastening of any nature no wonder they go through so many clothes!

As I’m attempting to wrestle the situation back into something resembling responsible adult behaviour Godson has shed his outer garments (onto the floor) and now has the box of matches in his hand. Quickly doing a personal risk assessment balancing the risk of him hurting himself against me dropping my crutches to release my hands to take the matches; the latter risks me loosing my balance and ending up on the floor no longer able to reach his little match holding paws!

It all turns out OK only after I’ve lit the candle three times so he could blow it out; I do decline his request to strike the match (not least because they are ancient and when purchased were cheap – you remember the ones that always seemed to have been made in Czechoslovakia?). Of course he is an inquisitive child whilst is charming on other occasions but last Saturday converts into a persistence which only a well schooled parent can resist! I still have an aversion to the screams of a child – whilst the walls are too thick to allow a strong mobile or WiFi signal in every room they seem paper thin when faced with the wailing of a small human; the neighbours will hear!

In conclusion Godmother turns the episode into a mini science lesson explaining why when you put the lid on the candle the flame goes out. If anyone has an easier way to explain that when I say the flame consumes the oxygen until it’s all gone and the flame ‘dies’ I don’t mean the candle is alive I’d love to hear it!

coffe potsAs we’re on the subject of flames and fire this morning I was reminded of the words of a friend who sarcastically commented that it was never a good idea to use the smoke alarm as a timer when cooking. In my defence the toast is to blame or perhaps the smoke alarm is just too sensitive! This morning I made up my usual Berlotti stove top coffee pot and put it onto the gas hob to do its business and produce a super strong espresso strength pint of coffee.

Then rather than standing watching it I busied myself with retrieving the now empty plate from the garden; 2 days ago I gave the remains of the Milk Loaf that I’d bought to feed Godson who only recognises bread as edible when it is white and without bits. The milk loaf didn’t fit the bill either so I’m going to have to be more inventive when feeding small people in future. So basically the remains of the milk loaf found its way onto the bird table on the plate I was retrieving whilst the coffee pot was supposedly doing its business.

Of course whilst in the garden I take a moment to ‘survey the estate’ and see how the bulbs are doing. Delighted to finally see Snow Drops appearing (after years of trying), joined by miniature irises and some impressive Hellibores in no less than three colours. OK I confess that miniature bulbs might have been a mistaken choice for someone of 5 ft 10.5” with balance issues – imagine having to get up close and personal with the miniature blooms; this manoeuvre involves having to bend over to fully appreciate these tiny blooms. And yes I did very nearly find myself ruining the wonders of nature by placing my face in the soil; a nifty lurch to the left followed by an ungainly wobble avoided complete catastrophe (and only minor bruising was evident next morning)!

Later the same day feeling a little more robust I lifted the iris bowl onto the table where I can admire the incredibly straight stems topped by irises of the most beautiful blues. Of course when I turned to go back into the kitchen I noticed the coffee pot was still boiling but when I went to lift the lid to see if any coffee had come up the black plastic knob came off in my hand; closely followed by the handle! Something had gone horrible wrong; the pressure wasn’t sufficient to force the coffee up and the metal pot had got hotter and hotter! Oops bugger bugger bugger – now at some point the same day something had happened to make the smoke alarm go off; I can’t actually remember what that was but the usual culprits are the toast or the omelette pan. Either way I had disabled the alarm until the smoke cleared…and I confess I hadn’t put the battery back in.

This omission could have gone so horrible wrong because next day I put on another coffee pot (at the beginning of the week I had 3 pot); and popped into the dining room where I work in the winter. And yes you guessed it I got distracted by emails and electronic minutia; the activities that somehow expand to fill the time like some great big hungry mouth that is never satiated

When I heard a popping noise in the kitchen I went to investigate to find that the handle had literally blown off! And the black knob on the top was reclining as the black plastic melted. Oops double bugger now there was one – number two wrapped in the violent lime green microfibre tea towel that seems to have absolutely zero absorbency! Teach me to be suckered into a cheap bundle in Morrisons! So I confess the idea that one of these useless items could finally serve some vaguely useful function was overwhelming satisfying especially as I was pretty confident that it would melt when it came into contact with hot metal – not to mention the glutinous knob!!

The offending article stood on the patio next to the recycling caddy like some tiny public art intervention or should that be installation. Fortunately this was black bag week so off the two Berlotti masterpieces of design innovation went to landfill; future generations may be mystified by these oddly misshapen lumps of metal and plastic still filled with black coffee the consistency of oil!

The cautionary conclusions from the Spinster’s rather expensive if not explosive week is focus as we all know a momentary distraction can be costly in so many ways…

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