This last Monday I came home a bit early from London, intending to get to bed before midnight. Normally on a Monday night I don't get in til gone midnight, so getting home at quarter past 11 was quite good. Unfortunately, the gods were against me. I live on the corner of a street (more or less, it's kind of complicated, because the actual street I'm on is a close, and it's really more of an extended drive than a street. I'm ignoring that for the moment, so you'll have to just sort of go with it). The street my house is on (for the purposes of this essay) comes to a T-Junction, just a couple doors down from me. So, I'm driving up the cross-road (the top of the T) on my way to my road from the Station. At the T, I turn right, onto my road. Up ahead, opposite and a couple houses down from my house, I see an orange glow. And then some sparks. And the top of a flame. And then . . . it blossoms. An enormous housefire. I quickly parked the car and ran up the road to see if anyone had called it in. Someone had, and in fact, the fire brigade was just arriving. We ended up with 6 trucks out there, and they stayed til after 11.00 the next morning. And then came back at 2.00 in the afternoon!
The Fire Photos:
Due to the location (next to an Electrical Relay Station and a Gas Mains) we were unsure if we were going to be evacuated or not, so it seemed a bit pointless to go off to bed if they were just going to come knocking at our door to send us off somewhere! And anyway, who'd want to miss the excitement?
I ended up meeting all these neighbours I didn't know. I only knew the 5 families on my close, and the people I share a back fence with, so there were a lot of unknown neighbours there. Was really quite nice to meet all these lovely people. In fact, I've been bumping into them all week at the Co-Op and the Local (Pub). One of them, Jean, said to me, 'I don't see you for 2 years, and all the sudden, you're around every corner!'
So, it was well after 2 in the morning when I finally got off to bed. Fortunately I didn't have to be up crazy early on Tuesday. However, what I didn't know was there'd been a power cut. Daylight, though, not such a big deal. Except. Except. Except that it's Winter! And winter means Cold! And no electricity means no HEAT! We eventually did get electric back. It wasn't til sometime in the late afternoon, though!
I went round to the house and the owners let me take a bunch of photos. I'd met them the night before. What was tragic about the fire (apart from the fire part, of course!) was that it was the original house to the area. Fortunately the owners had not been living in the house. But, it was sad to see such a piece of Colchester history destroyed. The land has had a house on it since the end of the 13th Century (1200s), and this house since the middle of the 14th Century, with additional bits being added on in the middle of the 17th Century. This whole area was once owned by the author Daniel Defoe (Robinson Crusoe), and his daughter lived in this house.
Here's what it looked like in the cold (wet) light of day: