Thursday, 20 July 2017

Candlelight - be careful

I have nothing against candlelight. I find it very pleasant, especially in a restaurant, with a hearty Italian meal, a red checked table cloth, a brilliant blue sky and a bottle of Chianti. Italian food, red wine, candlelight, especially in Sorrento: who could ask for anything more. Unfortunately, I have a bit of a bad record with candles.

There was a very unfortunate incident when I was young. It was Halloween. Pumpkins had not made it across the pond in the 1960's so was given a swede and a spoon. An adult cut off the top and I was charged with hollowing out a very hard, rather unpleasant smelling globe, then watched as crooked teeth, eyes and a triangle nose were cut into the face. A hole was cut in the lid as a chimney and a string attached to carry the lantern with. So far, so good.

Then some of my little friends arrived. The candle had been lit and for some reason the adult trusted me to take the friends and the lantern into the bedroom that I shared with my sister. I think we were playing, 'witches at a black mass'. No really. My sister was an avid Dennis Wheatley reader and by the time I was nine, I had read The Devil Rides Out. I read anything and everything that I could get my hands on. I didn't notice the smell of burning until the smoking lantern had begun melting the veneer on the drawer of my sister's brand new dressing table. I had hooked it over the handle. I still recall the sick feeling in my stomach when I had to tell her what I had done.

Many years later, with two children of my own, the area where I live was hit by a power cut. Apparently someone digging up the road had sliced through the power cable. It was to be an overnight repair. I searched in my cupboards, found enough candles for the evening. I found some terracotta plant pot saucers and put  a night-light on each, placing one in  the bathroom and another in the loo. Thrilled by the novelty of no electricity, my son invited his friend to stay the night. They were telling spooky tales when I went to bed, instructing them to blow out the nightlight in the loo before they went to bed. I should have known that it was a mistake.

When I woke, a couple of hours later, there was a smell of burning. I grabbed my mobile, turned on the torch and ran into the loo to find the saucer filled with burning wax.  The terracotta had soaked it up, a wick-effect setting fire to the whole surface and the paint on the window-sill was beginning to scorch. I knocked the saucer into the loo, to put out the flame and my phone went with it. What a great night that was. The damage was minimal. A friend of my daughter's once left a candle alight in her parent's living room, set fire to the curtains and although no-one was hurt, they had to stay in a guest house for months.

Candlelight eh. Not in my house please, well at least, only if there is a hunky fireman present with a bottle of wine, an Italian meal and an extinguisher.

But on the other hand...


You cooked that night.  
Salmon, olives and tomato,
Wild rice and wine.

Simmering in candlelight
I dreamed of a tomorrow.
Cloudy days turned fine.

Sweet scented delight,
Flickering in the shadow,
Whispering ‘be mine’.

Thanks for reading.  Adele


Anonymous said...

"Gutted!" ;-)

Steve Rowland said...

A great blog Adele. Loved the poem.