Burning up…

It’s seems the last week or so has been all about fire. Not only have our mountains in the deep south been ablaze for a few days, but hundreds of shacks in our informal settlements have been raized. The fire department has been working overtime to tackle the devastating flames, people have had to flee for their lives – not knowing what they will eventually return to find – and we’re running around looking for the arsonists. 
It’s frightening. When I was younger we used to try to decide what, if there was a fire in our home, we would take out with us in the rush. Ideally – everything. But with the prospect of flames singeing your pigtails you have to narrow it down a little. Always the current family cat – there were a string of them, each with its own hiding place. Then my favourite Teddy (Smelly Teddy – story for another time). And my photographs. Since I was small.

Insteresting that. There’s something so special about that tatty box of photographs. I don’t go through it very often, but if I had to lose it I would be devastated. It documents my life, my history, my lessons, my scrapes, my discoveries and my hopes for the futures. So even now, if you had to ask me what I would grab first… my box of photographs, my camera and my laptop. *

 Also on the topic of fires…

Yesterday I heard that a section of Camden Market has burnt down. That was shocking news. Camden is one of my favourite places in the world. I can (and have) spend hours there just wandering the narrow alley ways, finding the weird and exciting. It is a place which captures my imagination and has me wanting to change my image, my lifestyle every few steps.

So to hear part of it had been destroyed by a fire, felt, strangely, as though part of my home had been gutted. I frantically searched news websites to find out what had been decimated. There was a great pair of spiderweb fishnets I’d almost bought there. I told myself I’d go back. I know that countless other stalls in Camden will have the same pair – but I can’t get them at that stall.

Unlike my house, I wouldn’t be able to choose what to save if I was in Camden Town when a fire broke out. How many pairs of New Rocks could I carry, how may corsets and capes could I grip under my arms, how much jewellery could I clutch in my fists?

I think, that all I would desperately try to save, tuck safely in my pocket, is the spirit of the place – keep that, at least, from being burnt.

From reports it would appear that Camden is going to rise from the ashes, a tatty, dishevelled, slightly wonky and twisted phoenix. And you can mark my words I’ll be back there again before the year is over.

T

 * Before you freak about me not taking my cat… I don’t have one at the moment.

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2 thoughts on “Burning up…

  1. Hey Terri,

    I always remember the good quality thunder storms we have after major fires. Something about the smoke and dust really adds to the production of lightning. The though of fire in my home is quite disturbing. I think I’d take my cats. Well, they’d probably try take themselves but if they go in the wrong direction I’ll help. Next in line would be laptop but I’d probably catch fire trying to make a selection of books to rescue.

  2. Yeah I was wondering about the cat! That’s not like you. Weird about the London Camden thing. I relate to the sense of anxiety. I felt the same way when the house I lived in for three years in Kensal Rise got zapped by a TORNADO – I KID YOU NOT!! That was the weirdest thing to read in the news. I think I blinked about 7 times and then started frantically emailing friends that still live there.

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