So as I posted yesterday we had a wee bit of a fire. I still can't really work out every single tiny detail of what happened. The electricians both said the toaster was to blame, and that it looks like an electrical fault - not something we did, or caused, and not something I could have handled differently to the way I did - which is a relief.
So, the toaster? It's buggered.
I'd thrown it into the garden (I must have unplugged it - I have no idea - I can't really remember what order things happened in) where it carried on burning for some time until I smothered it with the wet table cloth, once the kids were being looked after by next door and I'd shut the dog in the shed.
(By the way; our recently purchased lawn mower is useless now - the dog ate the power cable- so if anyone wants to send us a free lawnmower for our massive garden it would go down very well)
Last night lots of people suggested a stiff drink, for the shock. My husband broke out the big guns and we drank it whilst I showed everyone the damage and reminded people to CHECK THEIR SMOKE ALARMS.
This morning, after a sleepless night in which the whole family slept in one bed and I repeatedly got up to check on things, because I kept imagining I could smell smoke, I examined the damage and got on with cleaning it up ready for the electrician arriving.
The light switch melted - this and three plug sockets were replaced
The bottom of the cupboards; the plastic coat melted and peeled away, and the bottoms scorched badly.
The door frame beside the surface where the toaster sat; the paint bubbled and cracked and burned, the wall beside it was alight.
You can see where it scorched and cracked better here
And here you can see that the top surface hid a lot of the damage; the paint beneath caught fire and melted - this was smothered by my neighbour when he went inside to check if it was out when I was outside ringing 999
And this is what's left there now. The electrician has replaced the wires; the fuse box is at the top - one corner was scorched but they said it was just the casing and the box is safe. The flames reached the fuse box burning up the wall behind the cupboards.
The smoke alarms went off VERY quickly. They went off before there was a flame. The firemen and electricians agreed that there was flame for less than two minutes. That's terrifying.
Because I smothered it so quickly it didn't spread. I've been feeling guilty because I did that before I got the kids out of the house. I said that today to the estate manager (our landlord is a country estate with around 100 houses over two towns; the owner sent his manager to see us to sort out the repairs) and was told that if I'd gone to get the kids before I did anything else then I wouldn't have been able to put the fire out - and I wouldn't be sitting in my own house right now writing a blog post. The house would have been gutted.
Less than two minutes of flame has caused over £1,000 of damage - just a tiny fire.
The landlord came, very worried, and looked around for the damage; then he said "Oh...is that it? Well, that's fine. I'll order new cupboards, you're doing the wiring now, I'll call the insurance, job done. It's nothing!" and off he went!
And that was that. We've now got a safe, cleared off wall with nowhere to keep our crockery and tea things, but it could have been worse.
The rest of the day was filled with a big nap and lots of hilarity from the kids.
This is in response to a video my friend Molly posted on facebook - which the kids have made us watch about seventy three times now. (Sorry about the clothes horse - I've got a house full of smoke smelling clothes I need to re-wash and couldn't use downstairs because of the workmen!)
As well as this, which has made us laugh a lot all day, there was the boys discovering that they can fire tic tacs out of their nostrils (this isn't going to end in a happy story, I can already tell - I've tried to tell them to NOT PUT THINGS UP THEIR NOSE but I imagine you'll soon see a blog post about a hospital trip with things jammed up there).
There was Midget Gem doing the potty dance, where he'd run to it, sit down, toot, get off and run away, look worried, run back, sit down, toot; this happened a few times then he sat and magically a poo appeared and much celebrating was had. That's three now he's done there, and not in a nappy at night time. He's ace!
Now if only he'd remember that clothes are not nappies...
There was also kebabs, and beer, and too much apple pie.
It could have been a worse day!