|Photo via Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service|
It must be Mother's Day somewhere in the world; I see that there are many moving tributes to mothers around blogland. I am so happy for all of you who remember your mothers with gratitude and love and whose children remember them equally lovingly. There can never be enough love in the world.
When my daughter was small she decided to do something special for me on the day, and bring me breakfast in bed. She was a sweet and dear little thing, an absolute treasure. At the same time she was independent-minded and capable from an early age. She usually spent the long holidays in Germany, with my parents, and I'd hand her over to the stewardess at Heathrow who then handed her over to my parents in Dusseldorf airport. For the flight she had to wear an official card round her neck, giving all relevant details, like name, address, flight number, etc. 'Unaccompanied Minor' was the official title. This cardboard sign never lasted long. and by the third time she flew across she absolutely refused to wear it. "I know the way now", she said, "and I don't need this sign at all. I am not a refugee child". It probably isn't funny now, but it was then.
Anyway, on this particular Mother's Day she was going to make me breakfast and bring it up to me in bed. At some ungodly hour I heard her clattering down the stairs. Sunday morning was my only chance ever for a lie-in, I was not best pleased about the early start. Cupboard doors opened and slammed shut, the kettle clanged against the kitchen tap. I could hear her arguing with her brother, never a good sign. The smell of burning toast reached me, followed quickly by the lid of the kitchen bin snapping shut. Then there was silence, the arguing had stopped and I heard only sounds of someone being busy in the kitchen. I forced myself to stay in bed.
When her footsteps thumped up the stairs I was ready for her. The smell of burnt toast still hung in the air, I was hoping the toast itself had been disposed of. She burst in "Surprise, surprise, Happy Mother's Day, mummy, I made your breakfast. You can have a nice lie-in".
She was carrying a tray with a plate of burnt toast, a pot of cold tea and a pot of marmalade. "How lovely, darling, thank you so much". She was so pleased with her efforts, beaming all over her face.
I sat up and tucked in while she watched.
The smell of burning was getting stronger, it was more like cloth burning than just breadcrumbs. I sniffed the air. Something was definitely wrong.
By the time I got downstairs and into the kitchen, the towel draped over the grill attachment over the top of the cooker was in flames. It was drying there and neither of the children had thought to remove it before they cooked the toast in the grill pan.
Stupidly, I grabbed the burning towel and flung it into the sink, then snatched another towel off the radiator and smacked it on the flaming grill, extinguishing the fire. I was lucky, the grill pan was clean and fat free and the towel quickly burnt itself out in the sink.
As a mother's day present we went out and bought a toaster.