Monday, 11 April 2011

Fire Escape

We live in a very dry part of South Africa: the Cape of Good Hope, by the end of summer, is like a tinder box and the landscape looks boring and brown.  My husband finally decided to tackle raking up some of the buider's rubble in our back yard at our 'retirement' house (see blog header) and had organised quite a pile of dry weeds as well which he intended to burn.  He brushed aside my concerns about starting a possible 'veld fire' in our back yard, dismissing my fears by airily declaring that the blaze would simply resemble a small Bar-B-Q fire (or "braai" over here.)  At least, I insisted, get the hosepipe ready.  But no, there was quite a blaze building up when I went into the garage in search of the hose, husband having declared that the bucket of water in which I was soaking my mop would be way sufficient to douse any undesired flames.  I duly unwound the hosepipe which I found on a reel on the wall by the boat, only to find that both ends seemed to be plugged into something which looked unusable in case of a fire.  Back outside I found a good blaze to be on the go and a bit of a breeze had built up.  Hubby impatiently told me that we had two hosepipes in the garage and the one I should have chosen was on the other wall and was both portable and had a nozzle attached.  By the time he returned with this one I was busy with my bucket trying to somewhat ineffectively limit the blaze, which was by now perking up in the wind.  Not to worry, said he, but when he turned to attach the hosepipe to the tap on the wall, he found that the tap and fitting had been painted closed by the painers and he had to sprint off to his work room to find tools to unblock it. By this time, the blaze was of the scary variety with flames licking around for pastures new: by the skin of our teeth my husband got the tap freed up and the hosepipe connected, finally spewing welcome, life-giving, crisis-avoiding - water.  The fire died down and finally surrendered.  The moral of the story: listen to your wife! What chance of that?  The photo depicts South African men doing what they are good at:  lighting a braai fire while the wives look on.  No chance of rogue fires starting here.


  1. So amazing to read about life in Cape Town. I was 4 when I left - long time ago - but the memory fresh with smells, and a certain pawpaw fruit for breakfast. I shall look up where we lived at the time and get back to you if you don't mind.

  2. That would be great! Where are you now?