Last night around midnight we were both tucked up in bed, chatting away when a deep boom accompanied by a flash of light resonated from the street outside. I’m not ashamed to say I jumped out of my skin. Well, actually, Fliss was lying on my shoulder, so I just kind of waggled my legs about in fright.
Both of us jumped out of bed and got behind the curtain to see what had happened. There on the street corner, about fifty yards away, stood the shattered remains of a phone box that had just been blown up.
We’re well aware that the area we live in isn’t exactly sweetness and light, but in a year and a day of living there this was a first for sure. We both just stood, open mouthed, wondering why someone would blow up a phone box. Actually, I was wondering how someone would blow up a phone box, but I suspect you can find out that kind of thing on the internet.
The force of the blast had set off a house alarm nearby, so we waited to see what would unfold. With there being a police station a couple of hundred yards away I figured they’d be on the scene in a flash. A minute or so went by and two youths wearing black hoodies returned to the scene of the crime, reaching inside the shattered phone booth to take the money from the cashbox. After doing so they made good their escape, back in the direction they’d come from.
Holey crap, thought I. This was grim stuff. To be living in an area where things like this can go down is sobering – just a short distance from a police station, too. Yet the only sound was that of the triggered house alarm, rather than the police sirens I’d been expecting to follow.
A full ten minutes later and a police car crawled past the scene without stopping for the officers to examine the phone box. They continued down the road by our house, in the opposite direction to where the youths had gone, almost.
I made Fliss and I a vegetable stir fry the other night – firstly because I’ve had so much chicken recently I’m sure they think it’s some kind of vendetta, and secondly because we had vegetables to use up. I had the peppers, broad beans, bean sprouts, and baby corn things all sizzling away in a dash of olive oil shortly after getting home on Tuesday evening.
After a few minutes of said sizzling I added the sweet chilli sauce I’d picked up from Tesco’s on the way home and stuck the rice on. The contents of the wok didn’t smell too hot and at this point I actually thought it would have been a good idea to invite Graeme and Lisa around for the Super Foxy Stir Fry vegetarian option. It turned out to be a lucky escape for them.
Five minutes later, the food was on the plate, we were on the sofa, and the first mouthfulls were being munched upon. This is the point where we both discoved that the sauce was not quite the “sweet chilli” variety we’d been expecting.
This was like eating thermite cooked in lava.
We ow’d and ooh’d our way through the first few forkfulls, expecting it would level out. But it just kept getting hotter. Fliss was first to crack, making a break for the kitchen in an attempt to cool her blazing mouth. It’s rare that a spicey meal beats me, though – I even had the measure of that chilli chicken tikka that I’d had down in Ealing last August… even if I couldn’t talk for a while afterwards. It soon became apparent that soldiering on was pure folly on this occasion. My mouth was positively smouldering and I could feel the scorch marks all the way down to my stomach by this time.
To continue would have been madness – I dropped my fork and made for the kitchen, hoping that a glass of milk would at least lower the temperature. It did, but only just. I had to swill the milk around in my mouth for any relief, but as soon as I swallowed the burning sensation came back with a vengance. There was no way I was going back for more, but Fliss had had the idea of mixing her food with some sour cream and chives dip we had, so she took on what was left of hers. Obviously she was much more hungry than I was.