Smoke Signals

Driving home from a reasonably unsuccessful shopping session yesterday I saw smoke. While the shopping did not result in me buying anything I did gather information on what particular design of product I would like so more successful than unsuccessful but not a success. I chose to take the “country” route home which means coming off the motorway a junction early and using the new bridge. This is not a shorter route and nor is it quicker. When I was young we would have called this “one of mum’s shortcuts” which obviously weren’t. But, there is a wonderful corner. It’s a blind, off camber, over the crest corner. If you don’t know it’s there you won’t make it. It feels great to drive it although I would prefer a car with a more positive accelerator feedback system. In the diagram below you can see the bridge under construction [A], the corner [B] and the best direction of travel [C].

The Corner
The Corner

There have been accidents here. The press have come out to take photos. But there are signs and you should drive sensibly. If you don’t know the road it will probably surprise you. If you know the road and come off then tough shit I guess, I just hope you don’t hurt anyone.

Before we had taken the corner I noticed smoke above the village and I tried to use some parallax measures to work out if it was from houses or the quarry just before the conurbation. It was definitely in the area of the houses. My next thought was I hope it’s not in Belgrave St because they won’t get a fire engine down there. It’s a Victorian street with just enough room for parking on both sides and a car’s worth of gap down the middle. Anything larger than a car won’t fit. I’d hate to live down there, emergency access would constantly bother me. I’d also have way more fire alarms than I currently do.

I think I’m probably a little paranoid about fire and escaping the house. I never lock the locks in windows. I keep keys on hangers by the door and even brief visitors about where these things are kept. I have plenty of fire alarms. Whenever I am in a new building I scan for emergency routes out. I honestly do count the rows to emergency exits on planes, forwards and backwards. I want to know how to get out.

Driving down the straight towards my village and it becomes apparent that the smoke is coming from roughly near my house. Given my predisposition to worry about fire I worried about the fire. I have an in-my-head scenario of driving home one day and seeing my house burning or just gone. As I turned down my street I could see people out wandering around trying to see what was happening and then a fire engine turned in behind me. I could see smoke rising from behind the terrace and realised it was a garden fire. I just hoped it didn’t spread to the houses. I sped up down the street so the fire engine could get in position.

The fire turned out to be a shed and some fencing that was burning furiously. The smoke was drifting past the back of my house. After parking I went in and looked out of the window at the back of the house. I could see firemen fighting the fire. I wandered down the street to look at the fire engine and see if more man-power was needed. A brief chat with the man operating the pump and then back to my house.

This morning there is ash in the garden slowly being washed away by the rain.

The best thing about this is that no-one was hurt.

This was the second fire in the gardens along this street. It was the first I hadn’t helped fight. It was the first during the day time. I’ll maybe write about the very first another time.