THE SALT OF LIFE

In general, I don´t have many helpful pearls of wisdom to share but i have discovered something that I feel the need to holler about, very loudly. Apologies if I am the only person on this planet who didn’t know this potentially lifesaving nugget of information.

Yesterday, I decided to cook sausages on the electric grilling machine which S is always raving about. The sausages were sizzling happily while two hungry children took it in turns to ask why lunch was taking 100 years. All of a sudden, there was a rocket type “WHOOOOOSH” actually more of a “WHOOOOMPH” as the whole grill-side of the kitchen became engulfed in rapidly growing flames. Panic stricken, I looked around for something to smother the fire with but all I could spy through my frightened eyes was a sock.

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As tempting as it was to fight the rising flames with a tiny sock, I ran across the landing, (plus side of living in a flat) and in the style of a 999 reconstruction, hammered on the neighbour’s door , only to run back inside followed by my neighbour who valiantly stretched around the flames and unplugged the grill, then plonked a plate on top of the flames and yelled for um………….. SALT.

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I flung it at him and he calmly doused the flaming sausages with the salt (I thought twice about writing flame-grilled) and put out the fire!  A quick google search confirms that yes indeed, salt is a fabulous weapon when faced with a grease fire (it also went on to say that you could put out a camp fire with wee, but to do it privately…)

I was in awe and wanted to hug my neighbour and the now empty salt pot. We were both a bit stunned and he broke the news to me that we wouldn’t be able to eat the sausages, which made me laugh a lot, relieved that the only casualties were the sausages and the grill, rather than the boys or the building.

How is it possible that they are still a bit pink?!

How is it possible that they are still a bit pink?!

Boy 1 and Boy 2, who had been watching in excited trepidation from a safe viewing point, whooped and cheered for our quick thinking superhero neighbour and of course the salt, before remembering that they were still ravenously hungry.

That afternoon, I spent a good fews hours trembling while one zillion “What ifs” zoomed round my mind. Luckily the boys had found the whole thing massively and weirdly exciting.  “We´re super brave, like Luke Skywalker” they exclaimed  tucking into their long awaited lunch of potatoes and chocolate snowmen.

The thing that was most terrifying was the speed of it, how in one split second everything could have changed. At bedtime, Boy 1 turned to me and said  “You need to be friends with Fireman Sam, he knows what to do.” I make a note to put Sam on speed dial and to stock up on salt then I kiss the boys goodnight, eternally grateful that somebody or something had most definitely been looking out for us all and vow never to cook sausages ever again.

Me, not doing a very good job of staying calm by Boy 1.

Me, not doing a very good job of staying calm, while the neighbour smoothly extinguishes the flames. @Otis.

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WHERE IS MY PIRATE IN SHINING LIFEJACKET?

photo 2 “Woohooo! We’re going to be pirates! “ whooped Boy 1 giddily, one sunny morning last September. We had  decided to go on a boat trip to TOSSA del Mar ( It never fails to make the teenager in me giggle helplessly). S kept saying that it was far too windy and the worst day ever to take a boat anywhere. As it is ALWAYS the worst day to go anywhere or do anything, I (literally) threw caution to the wind and off we went. Also,  some friends who had done it a few days previously said that it was only a teeny bit choppy, which I, (forgetting that I have suffered from travel sickness since I was 2) thought we could handle. The trip there was relatively calm, and except for the waft of sweaty burgers and booming techno music, quite good fun. So i was slightly triumphant we had defied S’s weather warnings. 562298_10201357190765476_1977038003_n We spent the day exploring the castle and being ice-cream guzzling tourists, ignoring the wind that was becoming grumpier and grumpier. We got to the beach in time for our boat trip home and this is where it all started to go spectacularly wrong. As we queued to get on the boat   I tried to ignore the fact that our boat which looked like a bath toy compared to the giant ones full of tourists happily swigging back their champagne , was bouncing up and down and people were almost falling overboard just getting on and wobbling into the lower deck. I tripped down the steps, putting ( throwing) O and F on the benches and watched  S topple in through the door nearly beheading everyone with the Phil & Ted which then got folded and wedged between unsuspecting tourists. And then we set off… The boys got excited by the glass bottom… which I had no intention of looking at as the ice-cream I had eaten twenty minutes before was starting to make a comeback. And then the fun began… off we bounced and smashed and crashed against waves and all I could see, whilst focusing on one fixed point were ROCKS, ROCKS and MORE ROCKS. All of a sudden , as water whooshed in through the door for the millionth time, I am full of panic. I look at my children, gorgeous with their windswept hair and inquisitive if not slightly stunned faces, and I panic some more… “ We’re not going to make it!” I squeak hysterically to S, trying not to puke , he laughs and calmly says this is totally normal. I make a note to self to investigate his secret pirate life… and I convince myself some more that we are most definitely,  all going to die. “The little ones don’t have lifejackets!” (Neither do we, but at this moment of time I don’t give two hoots about us, just the children)I scream and then I realize that I am so full of panic that I have no feeling in my arms or legs or anywhere and then I puke on my dress, O is still holding my hand gobsmacked by the sight . Then I puke on the floor and he cries because he wants to clean it up with wetwipes. S tries to reassure me but I have nothing nice to say to him and can just muster strength to shout “SHUT UP!” Unfortunately he doesn´t and I continue to puke. S hands F over to another tourist to hold and over the smashing waves and near misses with rocks, he falls asleep. My child, who refuses to sleep at night, another note to self to install a roller coaster in the garden to aid sleeping.”Close your eyes and sit upright!” S yells, whilst mopping me up and throwing a bottle of water over my head. The passenger holding F apparently also asked for a sick bag. The rest of the journey was equally hideous although not being able to see anything definitely helps the horror. The thing that is going over and over through my mind, except for whether or not we are going to make it , is that we would never go in a car or an aeroplane without seatbelts or a bike without a safety helmet. So where on earth are our lifejackets? I scour the boat and there is not a lifejacket in sight, just a bucket for um.. tips..Is it my fault for it not having even occurred to me, before we got on? I have since scoured the internet and found this pearl of advice – “a lifejacket is more effective worn than off ” and that all passengers SHOULD wear lifejackets. A friend who is very knowledgable in all things boat informed me that she was 99 per cent sure that any boat in the UK needs to carry sufficient lifejackets and all other safety paraphernalia… so maybe we should stick to British waters in the future! After what seemed like forty days and forty nights, we finally land, where I promptly flop on the beach, O tells me to stand up and stop feeling oopa and F prods me and says “Mummy sleeping?” I ask O what his favourite bit was and he said” seeing the dolphins jumping over the waves” – seems like closing your eyes and blocking it all out, really is the best tactic.

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