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2005-06-03 - 3:29 p.m.

Yesterday Tiffer took calmness in a crisis to new extremes.

We were enjoying a quiet afternoon tea consisting of hot cross buns (cheaper at Sainsbury's when out of season) and Tiffer had just brought me mine and wandered back into the kitchen to fetch his. He was gone for a short while, and then I heard a cheerful, light-hearted call from the kitchen: "Oh, it's all on fire!"

The cry was so matter-of-fact, and said in such a mildly interested tone of voice, that I did not fully comprehend the content. Half concentrating on my planning, but deciding to humour him, I replied, "What's on fire, dear?"

"The toaster" came the same matter-of-fact voice, "the toaster is on fire."

I leapt up and raced through to the kitchen, where I found Tiffer, arms folded, gazing with mild fascination at the toaster, which was sporting some impressive orange flames licking around his cremated hot cross buns, still perched on top.

"Do you think we should use the fire blanket for this?" he inquired.

Instantly I began to leap inneffectively around the kitchen, turning things off at the wall and hunting for the back door key to let out some of the gathering black smoke. Tiffer, meanwhile, started to blow into the now steadily melting toaster.

Eventually, the fire blanket was over the smoking toaster, and I had ascertained that the key to the back door was kept hidden underneath the toaster, so had opened the front door instead. This had had the immediate effect of drawing all the smoke out through the hall via the smoke alarm, which began complaining, loudly.

Eventually, having got the situation back under control, we went out. Tiffer left a note for the housemates stuck to the top of the melted remains of the toaster:

"To test smoke alarm: put toast in and wait two minutes."

 

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