and nearly took mum with it.
While in the queue for the car park to go to the Cork City part of the World Wide photowalk I got a phone call.
It was Mum’s neighbours.
The television at Mum’s had caught fire and she wanted me to get home as fast as I could. I did.
No one died, the damage isn’t that bad, but she’s declaring that she doesn’t want a replacement television (I expect that to last a week when soaps withdrawal kick in). After all, the electronic babysitter, the smiling entertainer in the corner had attacked.
On Saturday afternoon she plugged it in. And there was a crackle and little puff of smoke, like a cigarette in the corner. She plugged it out. Still smoke.
She left the room to ring the neighbours and open the front door. When she returned there was a plume of black smoke rising.
Highly toxic black smoke.
I think at this point one of the neighbours rush in, fortunately wearing fireproof gloves (he has no memory of putting them on, on moment he got the phone call, the next he was coming in Mums door wearing them). He picked up the TV and tried to run out of the house with it. He would have succeeded if Mum (who I should point out is on crutches) decided to lead the way.
Slowly lead the way while a lump of toxic materials plumed and melted behind her.
At the doorway the neighbour manager to get her to turn towards the stairs, and get the TV out of the house just as it got past the smoking part and decided to head straight for the flaming finale.
A second or two later it was flaming on the front lawn.
Then he turned back. You see, melting plastic was igniting the papers Mum had around the TV. And the table it was sitting on was starting to go up. And the smoke (at least) has licking the gas boiler directly above the television.
Anyway, he put put the papers and books. There melting discs (the DVD player looks OK, but we can’t tell hat the heat did to it yet), a smoldering radio and darkened walls show how localised and high the heat was for a little while.
Scorched curtains are dumped, and the coats with melted holes at the end of the stairs are awaiting assessment.
The house still has a twinge of toxic black smoke in the air. Lumps of melted black plastic show the progress of the equipment out of the house.
Under the tree sits a partially melted TV surrounded most of the desk it once sat on.
So Mum is alive and as well as she was on Friday. Except for a little come down from the adrenaline. And she has a new lease of tidying up. Five bags of newspapers and magazines went to the recycle centre on Sunday.
One small bag of books came back. (Shouldn’t have looked, but a cookbook and a book on censorship in Ireland returned from the dump along with a USB extension cable. Well it is recycling).
I’m unplugging a lot more equipment now. And I’m spared from the soaps.
I’ll give it a week until she starts looking for a replacement. I just wonder if I can talk her in to making a wheelchair friendly kitchen for herself.