Posted by: Joan Spiller | November 25, 2015

House fire (Damn you 2015, I WILL win!)

Tis fair to say I’d call 2015 one of the most horrid years of my life, with assorted “dramas”, from weather / house issues to car problems (that’s a polite word for it!) to money woes, as my job ended a wee while back now..

I’ve boxed on, as one must. Animals help – you can’t stay sad while hand rearing a pet magpie or cuddling up to a dog that thinks you’re the best. thing. ever.

As well, I’ve been often buoyed by good friends.

Friends who listened to me when I needed to vent, spent time with me, took my mind off things and were .. just plain good friends. You know who you are – and I appreciate you, very much.

However, nothing could have prepared me for the latest “drama” .. for all I am trying to laugh it off / make jokes, I suspect the fact I burst into tears every few conversations makes me realise it did shake me up a tiny bit more than I would have liked.

Let’s fast forward a few hours, to the kind hearted fireman telling me I am the luckiest woman alive (that was a nice word: alive!) and we’ll go from there ..

I was really struggling yesterday, the iron infusion thingie hadn’t kicked in, the constant pain of this stupid damn plantar fasciitis foot (and an ingrown toenail for good measure grr) was really getting me down.

I had done a few chores, then come inside to make lunch (Yummy arancini!, least I think they were .. the hens got them in the end!) I decided to take a codeine pill as I waited to finalise my lunch.

Mistake #1? Using old oil. I was told today that oil heats up faster, the more you use it? I always “recycle” my oil, using it for less “mucky” things initially, then ending with crumbed stuff cos then the oil is trashed fully .. a fake economy, it would seem. Did you know??

Mistake #2? Taking a pill that can make you drowsy, turning the oil on to warm up and then sitting in the sunshine.

Next “minute” (some 40 or so, I think) I was woken by Roxy who had leapt over my prone body, barking madly. I feel bad for growling at her cos she startled me .. because a few seconds later, all the smoke alarms went off throughout the house ..

I’d say we’re even, Rox! 

And so yeah, now … I have a confession to make.

I always imagined I’d be super cool, a hero even .. in the event of a fire or similar “disaster”, but the truth is? I’m a coward with a perfect “flight” response gene, hero be damned!

Cos I woke up, confused – wasn’t meant to be asleep, remember. I proceed to tell the poor dog off – as all the alarms go off / every dog is barking ..

I smell smoke & run toward the kitchen..

Next thing, I can’t breathe, thick black smoke is enveloping me as I try to see into the aforementioned (crazy dark!) kitchen. It’s early afternoon, it’s not dark, I’m confused (half asleep) but then it dawns on me ..


Flames were leaping off the stove top, up into the rangehood. The smoke was acrid and the whole thing was .. to be honest, quite scary.

Suddenly wide awake, I grabbed my car keys &  cell phone. Called the dogs and ran out of the house by way of the lounge doors while calling 111.

Seems I wasn’t making much sense, I recall the person (jerk lol) saying to me “PLEASE MA’AM, SPEAK SLOWLY”.

Personally? I feel GARPLEZ ASLEEP FLEAEBLE FIRE ARGHWAHH DOGS CRIEBLE HELP” was quite acceptable .. hmpfh.

Fast forward again, through the longest 15 or so minutes of my life:

I ran outside, locked the dogs in the car (no mean feat, with Roxy who has to be chased then carried to the car lol) I then ran back into the house and grabbed Rex the rat, (in his cage!) throwing him / it onto a safe place on the property, then ran around to the other side of the house and grabbed Tinker out of his day cage, throwing him into a cage before chucking him unceremoniously next to Rex.

I covered them both with a towel (to calm the bird mostly but this also would have been horribly stressful for Rex) and then drove down the driveway as ordered, to wait for the fire trucks to arrive .. ie to flag them down.

I felt SO shit for leaving the cats unaccounted for, saw one leave the house as I drove away .. but the other – didn’t see her, so I felt sick on many levels as I sat on the roadside in my car with the dogs, waiting for the fire brigade to show.

Never before has time moved so slowly, I swear.

Long story short .. the house did not burn down: it sustained significant damage in the kitchen and we survived.

As the lovely fireman who showed me thru’ the place after they’d given it the all clear, said: I’m the luckiest woman alive. Alive remember .. That’s me.. I may be jobless / broke and have major dramas going down but I’m alive, as are all my pets.

And that is kinda cool.

Day 2 of this wee drama & I’ve had a bit of good and a bit of bad. The good was lovely, a kind friend and her daughter coming to take me to dinner last night. That hug was the best, thank you Di. How’s the jetlag, Anna? JUST what you needed! (not!)

My daughter has been a very supportive ear, listening to all my rants and raves thru the day. And tears / fears.
Thank you CJ, I love you.
Rather a lot 😉

Kimmie .. you ALWAYS get to hear my life story and this last 24 hours is no diffs, you have your own drama going on right now, and I appreciate your ear / time.

Others have also called / been in touch / offered to help and if I stopped to name you all, this post would be too long – I am thankful to you.
Please know that.

On the downside, I’ve also had horrible news of lapsed insurance and had the assessor thru’, who was not overly encouraging in his “oh this and that all is needing replacing (walls etc)”, it didn’t seem so bad .. til he came thru with a critical eye, truth be told..

Watch this space, there may be some begging required to stay sane thru’ this coming few weeks .. (I will run out of gin tonight!)

NOT helped by the cleaner company man saying he wouldn’t be staying in the house as it is, filled with ash and assorted carcinogens..
Come on, it’s just a bit of ash, no?

Anyways, it is time to have a drink with my Mother. . . On this, the anniversary of her death, 6 years ago.

You know, I keep saying (all year long!) “it’s gonna get better” ..
Please can that be soon?

My trusty coffee machine, wrecked  😦

Had to go get assorted ingredients to make meals that do not need any heat / oven, stove etc today

The cleaner guy came by to prove to me just how bad the place looked.. those 4 smudges are the hallway ceiling..
Thanks bud (sigh!)

I try to be thankful (check the date) but .. am not feeling it 😦


2015, you need to back the hell off. I’m tired, so very tired ..
But I want to survive.
Damn you



  1. […] post, I discovered you can’t fry eggs (nicely, that is!) in the oven. Lesson learned after setting fire to my kitchen in early November. As I type this, it is nearly the start of 2016 and I have no *functional […]


  2. […] how hard a real (i.e.: bad) house fire is to deal with cos tis fair to say I am finding this kitchen disaster hard work! Spending a week living in a soot coated house was.. unpleasant. I found my breathing […]

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my, wishing you better things for the rest of the year! Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Joan….. Darlin’, you’re gonna be the death of me yet. Stress is ugly on me. So, I’m going to have to insist that you move to Texas and live with me. I will support you, feed you, clean up after you and walk you. (sorry, I’m just saying that so Gary will let me have you) I have two guest rooms and plenty of room for all your animals. And as God as my witness, I will not make macaroni and cheese from a box. Fairly easy for me to say since my sweet hubby is the cook. LOL But HE will not make macaroni and cheese from a box. Okay, all joking aside…. Sweetness, this could have been so much worse. When I first read about this, I had goosebumps and tears in my eyes. I just got you back in my life. I’m not going to lose you again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ya’ know, I’m still thinking about this because I dwell on stuff…. lol You know that though. No, you haven’t had the best year, but it WILL get better. Don’t we all have times where we think nothing else can go wrong, and then it does? That summarizes this past year for you. Bad times don’t stay bad though…. It may seem like it for a time, but it does get better. I have learned that when things seem like they’re at their darkest, something pretty amazing is right around the corner that can change your whole life. It’s high time that you reach that corner. Things will be okay… I promise. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m gonna wait and see, the cornr is a long way away 😦


    • Love you x


  5. I feel so helpless, so far away, but I am thanking God for your safety and no injuries. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day here in the States and I have a lot to be thankful for in your safety.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thanks James, love having you on my support crew even if from afar 🙂


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