As you know we live in a mobile home so we had spent the day battling against high winds of around 100 mph in order to keep hearth and home land bound. Unlike our last caravan that was blown away in similar gales, but that is another story and one I will tell you at some point. We had done all we could to strap everything down so as it was 7.30 on a Wednesday and my husband and I being ardent Strictly Come Dancing fans we sat down to watch Claudia Winkleman in Strictly It Takes 2 on BBC 2. It being a little chilly I’d already lit our wood burning stove for the first time this year so while the wind boomed outside we were cosy and snug in out temporary home.
We had just got comfy when the lights, the TV and all other electrical appliances including the phone and the PC went dead. “Sod” we thought, “the wind has caused a power cut”. But as I reached for the candles I looked outside to see the landscape ablaze. “Oh my God!” ”What shall we do?” My husband ran for the hosepipe, I ran for anything to smother the flames and we stamped on the smaller fires in the hope that we could contain the blaze before it spread like wildfire in the tinder dry landscape.
The fire had burned through the electric cables and water pipes feeding the supply to the caravan, these being temporary and therefore just laid overland, so the lack of water made the fighting of the flames even more difficult. However with a lot of panicking, shouting and swearing we managed to get everything under control except for the compost heap, which continued to smoulder for days.
On analysing the situation we decided that the high winds had put a ferocious draw on the wood burner and not only fanned the flames but had sucked lighted material up the chimney onto the compost heap. This went up in flames further fanned by the wind and sent more of flaming material into the air, which in turn started subsidiary fires in the landscape.
With great effort on our part we were fortunate to put out the fire without causing damage to life and limb or in fact burning our property or trees or those on neighbouring farms, thus avoiding an international incident. We spent the rest of the evening by romantic candle light until my husband could repair the electricity cables and water the pipes the following day but it was the most exciting Bon Fire Night I remember.