Saturday 19 December 1987

…This morning there was a fire in our neighbours’ kitchen.
The firemen came extremely quickly.
We all went into our back garden and had to stay there in case the flames spread.
No-one was injured, killed etc…

I remember this quite well, and I’m embarrassed at how I’ve tried to make it sound more dramatic than it really was. Nothing actually caught fire. It was only a gas leak in their kitchen. The logic of standing in the garden was, I suppose, sound. Their house might have exploded – and ours, consequently, might have caught fire, or been damaged, or exploded as well.

But equally it was, in hindsight, an enormous over-reaction. Gas escapes from pipes all the time, but you don’t see people standing in the street each and every day of the year waiting for the worst. Well, except in Ealing comedies and Les Dawson sketches.

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