It was invited into the house by some frozen sausages which we were mercilessly grilling (not Gene Hunt style) for our tea.
We’re not sure how it happened. We were being pretty careful and vigilant. Doors locked. Windows bolted. No cold callers signs all over the place.
But maybe that was our mistake?
This was a hot caller.
In the time it took us to take our eye off the ball great big yellow flames were licking their way out of the grill. It seems that the sausages went from being frozen to jetting gouts of hot fat onto the grill bars like a small time crim singing under the blows of police brutality.
The jets ignited immediately and fulsomely.
Weirdly my Corporate Fire Training (fanfare please) both kicked in and didn’t kick in.
I opened the grill door. Big mistake. The sudden in-rush of oxygen fed the flames and they got meatier. I’m not sure even now if this boded at all well for the sausages.
I shut the door again rather quickly but it was too late. The flames had taken the grill by storm and were now cooking the cooker.
I reached for a tea towel and performed the old “soak a tea towel and drape it over the flames” trick. Tick please. It worked. It took a few seconds - seconds in which Karen and I began to wonder aloud whether we should get the kids and the DVD collection out of the house for safe keeping – but it worked nonetheless.
The flames gave a last gasping flicker and went out. Possibly to someone else’s house. Possibly on the razz. I’m not sure. Given the mess they left behind I won’t be inviting them back again anytime soon.
And that was as close as we’ve ever come – and as close as we ever want to come – to having a house fire and burning down everything that we’ve worked so damned hard for.
It was a short lived but rather intense experience.
The cooker even now still looks petulant and sooty.
And the sausages, when we finally ate them, were undercooked.
It seems they’d kept cool under duress and refused to spill the beans...