On my hike down memory lane, I stumbled across this gem……….


My son Brent, my golden boy, who could do no wrong, was the joy of a boy. He was sensible and diligent. Well, I thought he was sensible+.

Sean, my firstborn, was a crazy guy who was continually getting into scrapes and giving me grey hairs.

Laura, my lovely, rather fey, girl child, lived in her world, and school was not for her. Maths, history, geography, Nah. Rather animals, fairies, and fantasy.

I digress though, one of my hobbies back then was flower arranging. Every month, come pay-day, I would visit the florist and buy a bunch of dried up sticks and grasses, and stuff. Also, in those days, we had not become aware of the harmful practice of growing pampas. I loved them and had a large specimen flourishing in my garden.

When added to the dried grasses, the arrangement took on a breathtaking majesty. Of course, being what they were, I sprayed them with hairspray to stop their fluff flying all over the show.

Through the years, my collection had become massive and spectacular. It was magnificent.

Remember good little, ‘sensible’ little, never put a foot wrong, little Brent?

Well, it turns out, none of the above!

Sitting in the comfortable chair next to the glass table and dried grass arrangement, he mused,

‘Wonder what would happen if I flicked a lighter near it?’

… Let’s see…




Fire is what happens!

In an apocalyptic flash, a fierce blaze engulfed the dried grasses, sticks, and pampas, and my entire collection succumbed to its fiery kiss of death.,

I rushed in and grabbed the vase, but got as far as the kitchen…


I let go instantly, and it crashed to the floor.

The linoleum sizzled and melted from the scorching heat. We grabbed towels to smother the flames, then drenched everything in water.

Once the crisis was over, and the fire quenched, I counted the cost. Hmm. Let me see now. What were the chances of finding the exact linoleum to match the old pattern? And, would they sell just a small piece? Mmm. Not likely. It looked as though we would have to replace the entire floor.

Lots of money.


Then… epiphany!

The lino had a cream and gold pattern. I, painted and I had those colours, Ha, problem solved. I got down and cleaned the burnt area, then very carefully painted over it, carefully filling in the gold lines and cream background. It was soon looking pretty, darn good, but not quite perfect. Then came the genius part. With the Stanley knife, I cut a square the size of the stove in front of it, then. Manhandled the bulky cooker out of the way, so that I could cut and lift the unspoiled linoleum from under it, and switch ends.

By the time I had finished, all evidence was gone, and there was no sign of the pyrotechnics ugly char anywhere.

Later, I was to learn that Brent had seen the flames and had tried to blow them out, thereby effectively and thoroughly spreading the blaze.

As I said, by the time I had finished, there was no evidence of the burn. Still, sadly there was absolutely no evidence of Brent’s so-called ‘supreme intelligence’ either. Flicking a lighter against dried grasses? Not smart. Especially Pampas grass sprayed liberally with highly flammable hairspray.

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