17 November 2011

It takes seventeen muscles to smile, and forty three to frown.

So I give my face a good workout every day.

Because work is completely horrible, lets move on to another question. Well, half a question, because I've already answered the other half.

Nameless asked about Danny and about the fire at our house. So I've answered the Danny bit...now onto the other bit.

I thought it might be hard to write about, but actually, because it doesn't feel at all like it happened to me, it's not really. Feels like something I watched on TV or something.

So, I was about ten, Nicks was 8ish, Danny 5, Sam 3 and mum was heavily pregnant with Rachel. She was having a lie down, and her bloke of the moment, Chris, was cooking us dinner. I was in my room with Danny and Sam. I don't know exactly what happened but Nicky went downstairs for something and then came charging back up again and burst through the door looking terrified.

She managed to pant out something about fires so I jumped up and told her to wake Mum.

Of course, being ten and invincible I thought I'd be able to save the day.

But when I got downstairs the kitchen was well alight. Looking back it was obvious that it was a chip pan, but I didn't know that then. I just remember there being a lot of flames and choking smoke and it seemed like it was getting bigger by the second.

I ran into the sitting room and Chris was in there, asleep in a chair. I shook him awake shouting that there was a fire and he came to pretty fast, and followed me back to the kitchen. He swore a lot and tried to get close enough to grab the pan, but it was too hot. So he ran past it, sort of ducking under the flames, out into the garden. I thought maybe he'd just run and left us, but then he appeared again at the door with the garden hose.

I can imagine any of you who've watched the 'what not to do with a chip pan fire' are wincing now.

Yeah, he sprayed water at it. It exploded. I was lucky to be far enough out of the other door not to be hurt, but I ran upstairs as fast as I could and I grabbed Sam and got Nicky to hold Danny's hand and with Mum we all managed to get downstairs through all the smoke.

Someone else had called the fire brigade, but we were out in the country a bit, so when they got there the house was well alight. We were lucky to all get out. You wouldnt believe how fast it all went up.

They put it out in the end, and the firemen went in and got us a few things - clothes, shoes, everything soaked and stinking of smoke. Then we were put into emergency accommodation. A B&B, in the town nearby. It was horrible. Tiny, damp, had to share a bathroom with everyone else in there. Mum had a really hard time coping, Chris left her before Rach was even born, and once that happened we had two rooms, opposite ends of the corridor, Mum, Nicky and once Rach was born, about a month after it all happened, Rach too, all shared one room. Me, Danny, and Sam shared the other one. We had a lot of fights. The couple who owned the place told Mum they'd throw us out if we kept on. Luckily the council sorted our house out again before that happened. Or before any of us killed one another, but it was a close run thing.

We lost everything, and Mum didn't have any insurance, so it was pretty hard getting going again. A lot of charities helped us out, neighbours too. Of course, it was even harder with a new baby and for Mum trying to look after all of us on her own. I don't know how she managed.

 But she did. We did.
And on to happier times. Sherlock has just baked these for Mycroft:

We're just checking they taste nice by eating some of the ones that went more blobby than swirly. He's very excited. (About Mycroft coming home, not just about eating biscuits.)

And Danger has given me amazing hugs. 


REReader said...

*hides under bed*

Seriously, my biggest (entirely rational) fear is of a house fire. I used to have nightmares--wake-up-screamings nightmares--about 'em. Eeek! Thank God you all got out okay.


Those biscuits look amazing. They make me hungry even without being able to smell them. Awesome job, Sherlock (and chef's assistant Lestrade)!

And three cheers for amazing hugs. :)

John H. D. Watson said...

Thank goodness you were there. It sounds as if it could've been much, much worse if you hadn't got everyone out in time.

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

I think Nicky would have managed admirably. And we should have all got out in the first place without me thinking I'd be able to fix it all without waking Mum up! Her bedroom was above the kitchen - she's lucky the ceiling didn't collapse.

Anonymous said...

I think that would be pretty scary for me now. I can't imagine being rational enough at 10 to wake everyone up and get them all out. You're just a born natural at helping people. Or at least trying to help people. Which I suppose is part blessing and part curse.

I've been traveling for work and stuck in a crappy hotel with no Internet so I'm a bit late to the game, but hugs for your bad week and yea for Mycroft's visit. Those biscuits look excellent.

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

It would be scary for anyone, I think. Like I said, it doesn't seem real, looking back on it.

And I wasn't that rational! I just thought I'd be able to put it out. I didn't realise how bad it was.

The biscuits are pretty nice :) Danger's eating his third.

Anon Without A Name said...

Wow. The sounds absolutely terrifying; and you already had that incredibly strong protective streak. Sounds like you were all fortunate to have survived. I'm impressed that your Mum managed to get the family back on its feet after something that devastating.

Thanks for answering my question :-)

Those biscuits look great too.

Ooh - some of your readers might be interested in checking out the Birmingham Police twitter feed for today (@brumpolice), they've had a Forensic Science Day, with forensic scientists tweeting their day, using the hashtag #fsi.

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

Nameless - honestly, I think anyone would've done the same thing. And yes, very lucky that Nicky noticed in time.

Back on its feet...well, on its knees, where it always seemed to be, anyway. She's a strong woman, when she has to be.

And thanks, I'm sure Sherlock will look up the Twitter tomorrow. Maybe Mycroft can help explain things to him, if he needs it.

mazarin221b said...

Oh, jeez. I can't even imagine losing everything in a fire. We came close a few months ago, when my husband put an empty milk jug on the stove (hob, to you), and turned on what he thought was the opposite electric burner. Amazing how fast plastic melts then catches fire when it is in contact with one of those! I heard him yell for me, and you know, it was one of those totally panicked-sounding yells, not one of the "I need something, be convenient" kind. I saw the flames leaping toward the cieling, grabbed the kitchen extinguisher, and let fly.

Let me tell you, the yellow powder from one of those gets everywhere.

It is odd, though, how calm I was, and decisive. I had no idea if I was going to flail about or what. Sounds like you had that sort of calm in spades at 10, luckily for your family!

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

Mazarin - when it actually happened there was probably far more yelling and running about than came through in my account of it!

REReader said...

You got the job done, and no one got hurt--that's a win no matter how much running and yelling was going on.

REReader said...

No middle of the night comments again--hoping that's a good thing!

(And I'm posting here instead of at John's blog because I'm afraid of starting more pony puns... :D)

Good morning--and good night! (Did you figure out the giraffe riddle, Sherlock?)

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

Sleeping went exceptionally well. I think it was all down to Danger stroking my forelock on a soothing way.

Went a bit too well, really, as Sherlock ended up waking us up by clambering on the bed. And has since been exceptionally high maintenance. Hidden my warrant card, my keys and my wallet to prevent me leaving on time, begged to stay off school and for me to stay off school and to fetch Mycroft right now.

John will have his hands full this morning.

Anonymous said...

He knows work is making you miserable, it makes perfect six-year-old sense.

Hope today goes OK

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

Anon - yeah, his intentions were good. We should all stay at home, fetch Mycroft and have a lovely day. I wish all those things could have happened! I have no idea how John is going to get him to go to and stay at school without a major fight.

REReader said...

Ouch! Well, as I said over on John's blog (with MY answer to the giraffe riddle), at least the sleeping went well!

I don't know if this would work for Sherlock and John and you or not, but my mom didn't want me lying about feeling ill or otherwise tussling with her about me wanting to stay home--and I guess she realized that I really just needed fewer people around sometimes. So she made a deal with me--I wouldn't lie or argue or otherwise make a fuss about going to school, and I could pick any x days per semester to just stay home and she'd write me a note, no problem. I wasn't allowed to pick a day when there was a test or a report due, and once those days were used up, they were used up. (I forget the exact number of days--probably two, but any number would work as long as it was set in stone. Marking on a calendar to keep track is a good way to avoid any forgetting.)

Of course my younger siblings got the same deal, but they didn't all use all their free days. SOME people liked school and spending time with their friends!

So...just what worked for us.

REReader said...

(I should add--it REALLY worked to cut down about arguments about going to school, because I didn't want to lose my free days the next semester--and she let me do it clear through high school.)

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

I'm not sure that would work for us for a number of reasons (but in saying this I'm well aware it's really John's choice to make)

First, John is very good at reading Sherlock, and does let him stay at home if he thinks there's good reason.

Two is that Sherlock tends to want to stay at home when someone else is there getting John's attention - me or Mycroft, usually, and he needs to learn he doesn't have a monopoly on John, however much he's sure we all just wait and have fun behind his back.

And thirdly, being an officer of the law, I could never condone such a thing ;)

Personally, I feel like I get very few days of John to myself, so would fight against giving even 2 of them up!

REReader said...

Ha! Well, if it doesn't apply, it doesn't apply--circumstances definitely differ. I was , after all, the oldest of four, not the younger of two, and I wanted to stay home not for more attention but for less.

(I will say I wasn't allowed to go anywhere on my "free days"--if I wanted to stay home, home is where I was going to be--and in those days, no one thought twice about leaving a responsible 6-year-old alone in an apartment for a few hours. Which might not work so well for Sherlock. :))

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

John has kept Sherlock home before when he just needs a bit of calm, not because he's 'ill' in the traditional sense of the word.

But yeah, I don't know that it would work for us. By the time you put a whole load of conditions on it, we're essentially in the same position as now - which is that it's John's choice.

Liz said...

The fire sounds like a scary experience but as everyone has said, at least no one was hurt.
On another note, would it be possible to have to recipe for the swirly biscuits? They look like just my thing!!
Hope you have a lovely time with Mycroft again, and that Sherlock is getting uses to him coming and going back to school.

REReader said...

Sounds like the only real difference between what my mom did and what John is doing is my mom let me choose when I needed a quiet day. Comes to the same thing in the end, pretty much!

(Really, I should know better. You lot are always several steps ahead of me!)

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

Not at all - I'm clueless. John's the empathic one who knows what to do. He might think it's the perfect idea.

Danger - hope you've collected Mycroft successfully and are having a nice afternoon together.

Anonymous said...

Lestrade I asked John a question yesterday and he said it wasn't too personal, but if this is then ignore it.

Have you ever been attracted to a woman? Or if the answer is no, which would be a short story, do you prefer to bottom or top with a man?
You don't have to answer.

REReader said...

Clueless? Riiiiight.

Nicky, you here? Want to weigh in on that?

Or maybe you'd prefer John's opinion, Lestrade? Or Sally's? I'm easy. :)

mazarin221b said...

Wow, RR. I wish my parents had been that empathetic. I was bullied a lot and really needed time off sometimes - but I had to go to school unless I was dead or dying. And my son only gets something like 5 days off unexcused for the entire year, meaning any days without a doctor's note, so I couldn't let him stay home if I wanted to!

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

Well, not clueless, but Danger is better at working out when people need a bit of care and attention than I am. I just assume everyone will be okay.

Anon - not shy, ate you? Hah. I ... might answer. I'll see what Danger comes up with for his answer!

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

...are you. Even.

John H. D. Watson said...

L - we are indeed having a lovely afternoon. Just heading out to pick up Sherlock in a bit. Do you want us to stop by afterward?

John H. D. Watson said...

I just assume everyone will be okay.

You assume you will be okay. You're much kinder to everyone else.

REReader said...


Mazarin, my mom was a teacher before she started having kids--and she went back after we all were in school, and still teaches first grade. She's always pushed (and when she pushes, things happen) the boundaries of our schools. Unfortunately, she needed to, in different ways, for all of us.

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

RR - I don't remember all the laws, it not being my area, but recently things have become very strict here regarding school attendance.

Danger, I'm really quite busy, but will try to finish early.

What have you two been up to?

REReader said...

I have no idea myself what's the deal here in public schools, but I (and my sublingual, and my nieces and nephews now) all went to private religious schools. I don't imagine the laws can be all that rigid even now for private schools here, considering the home schooling movement, but I really don't know.

I would very much have liked being home schooled, but I don't guess it would have been at all good for me--I always had enough problems with socialization. (Not to mention there was no such things as personal computers at the time, so it wouldn't have been a viable option.)

Happy to be out of school for a bit, Mycroft?

REReader said...

"Sublingual"?!?! Siblings! (Shut up, predictive text.)

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

Yeah, Mycroft's terms are shorter than Sherlock's. But he also has a much longer school day.

Desert Wanderer said...

I'm easy.

Really, RR? ;P.

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

Anyway, Danger, I am always okay! Because I selfishly allow you to care for me.

REReader said...

*sticks tongue out at DW, who will undoubtedly make more of it than it is*

Sorry, L, I wasn't meaning to make a comment about Mycroft's school, although in retrospect I see it applies!

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate cleaning chicken? (No, that is not a non sequitur, it's what I've been just doing.) Because I really, really do. Yuck.

John H. D. Watson said...

What have you two been up to?

Mycroft and I stopped for lunch after I picked him up and then let the dogs run around in the park while we talked. Went to get Sherlock, went to Tesco, now almost home - Mycroft is cooking tonight. :)

Desert Wanderer said...

Who, me? I'm as innocent as Mycroft! Okay, maybe not, but at least as innocent as than Doc!

REReader said...

Uh huh.

What's on the menu? I definitely was not up to making dinner when I was 13, I'm genuinely impressed!

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

I didn't mean to imply you were, RR, I was just saying I don't know how it works out either, given the boys spend totally different numbers of days at school.

Mycroft, you are wonderful, thank you. All I feel like doing is collapsing on a soft surface.

And tell me, did John wear his sparkly jacket to Sherlock's school, to match the picture?

DW - as innocent as the doc? So...guilty as hell, then?

REReader said...

Lestrade, I think we're just going to have to agree that we never mean anything we say to each other, or we're going to spend a lot of time apologizing for implications that whoever was writing never meant and the one who was reading never saw!

(Or at least, that we only mean what we outright say. Yes, that sounds a bit less absurd. :D)

Also, HA!

Desert Wanderer said...

I was going to say as innocent as Lestallion, er...you, but... Then I thought I'd say Sally, and that didn't work either. So, the Doc, yes.

What is bumfluff, and why would you want to grow it on your face?

REReader said...

Myself, I am pure as the driven snow.

(Of course, I live in NYC. You ever see the snow here?)

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

DW - I could explain bumfluff, but now I really want to know what you think it is! I didn't even think when I wrote it that it might not be a universal saying...

REReader said...

Well, now I'll have to go google it. Your fault!

(Ah. It's what I would have guessed.)

Desert Wanderer said...

Since this is a family blog, clearly it's the fuzzy coating of a bumblebee during winter.

Desert Wanderer said...

Not the driven-on snow, RR?

REReader said...

I have definitely not been driven-on. No matter how you define "driven-on". *smirk*

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

DW - that is indeed what it feels like. But it refers to the soft hair teenage boys grow on their faces before a true beard/stubble kicks in.

Desert Wanderer said...

Why's it called bunfluff, then? We call it peach fuzz. Not to be confused with hot fuzz.

mazarin221b said...

Not to be confused with hot fuzz.

Which also applies to certain of the population of this blog.

Rider said...

well part of the population of this blog is definitely hot fuzz, no confusion at all.

Desert Wanderer said...

Guys, guys. Sally's gonna be so embarrased when she reads this. ;)

(Just kidding, Lestrade. <3)

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