June 16, 2008

On Fire

December 2007
My journey began from Houslow, western part of London, even Middlesex, towards to London West End. The Golden Compass movie was on and me and Sophia wanted to see it. It all began by choosing the wrong bus. It took ages, stopped at each and every bus stop, and finally ended, say 50 minutes later close to Hounlow bus station. Where next? I turned right, then left, walked half a mile or so, until I saw a bus stop, where I could probably catch a bus.. By then I was already late, so cellphone out of the bag, rang Sophia and said no chance of getting there in time. Next bus.. whenever. I thought I was kind of lost too, railway station somewhere nearby, no sign of the tube station.. Next bus to Shepherds Bush. Ok, will do.
Another 45 minutes of travel, until the bus reached Shepherds Bush, and change of plans. Instead of movie, we decided to have some lunch so we headed to an Italian restaurant. Very cosy, plants, small tables,sensuous, delicious food, friendly service. Christmas just around the corner so the decorations were all out and candles really brightened up this early rainy afternoon. Thinking about what we usually do at a restaurant, that's what we too did; sat down, scanned the menu, hang the overcoat, have a chat over a glass of wine.. Except that my coat was hanging on the back of my chair, it fell on the floor once or twice, never mind. More wine, soup, main course. Delicious. Just before the dessert arrived, I felt something strange behind my back. Mmmmm, hot water bottle..? It got hotter and the sensation was accompanied by a smell! What is going on???!! I turned around, saw my coat catching the fire- there was a candle on the floor behind me. Frantic attempts folllowed, to put out the fire, the coat was ruined, it was certainly ready to be wasted. We thought fire brigade would soon arrive, but seemingly none of the waiters saw what happened - we did not feel it was necessary to tell them either. Desserts were eaten in a rush, and we made a hasty exit. Restroom nearby became the final resting place for the remains of my coat, unfortunately the wetaher was so cold that I had to find something else to wear and ended up buying an expensive cardigan.

Now, more than 6 months later I could say it was a lucky escape. Did anyone else witness this? I don't know, and don't really care, but I won't be eating at the same restaurant, ever again. Not that there was anything to complain, food was delicious, service too.
Lucky escape indeed.

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