As a child, we had small live candles on the Christmas tree;
the fire service had a busy night. Mum had a bucket of water
by the tree and kept an eye on it as we children forgot.
The tree caught fire; my uncle was there, but before mum
could douse it, he opened up a window, threw out the tree.
Not a smart move, the curtains caught fire too and he had to
throw the curtains out as well; mum was furious with him.
Uncle, a genial man worked on the docks and tended to react
before thinking. Blinds burning in the snow, uncle brought
back the tree plus the unburned decorations. But gifts under
were saved. Uncle had to buy new drapes when the shops
opened. Next year, electric candles came on the market, and
our fire service was less busy, but my uncle had died; a bag
of rice fell into the icy harbour water, he dived after it, forgot
he couldn’t swim.