Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Merry Christmas everyone!

Well, the planned PPP Christmas eggtravaganza (sic) has been cancelled. I had my lists written, and all was on schedule. In fact we'd commented that between Christmas and New Year we didn't have any excitement scheduled. Anyway, I'm recovering from 'that cough' everyone in Suffolk and possibly the whole country, has – so on Sunday an early cuppa and a lie in might have been in order . . .

. . . then the power went off. We became aware in the quiet and dark that something was 'going on' outside and a peek through the curtains confirmed lots of lights on the Village Green. 'A lorry's taken out the electricity pole' we guessed and went back to bed. With the power still off, Cliff ventured out to the workshop to retrieve the camping stove and gas cylinder, moments later he was back shouting "it's world war three out there!!!!!!"

The narrow lane leading into our village was full of emergency vehicles – at least 10 fire engines plus a mobile control room and the Salvation Army Mobile Response Unit serving tea and sausage sandwiches :-O :-O

Fire had ripped through one of the picture post-card thatched cottages on the top of the high bank along the steep hill leading down into the village. The fire men and women battled to save the cottage but soon realised it was more important to contain the fire and prevent it spreading to the thatched roofs either side. They pulled the blazing thatch to the ground and doused the flaming reeds on the ground, the neighbouring roofs were kept under a constant spray of water to stop sparks igniting their thatch too.

The pretty cottage was the home of the first person we got to know when we moved here 10 years ago, she was the Parish Clerk and there wasn't much she didn't know about the working of the community! She loves cats and our 'Charlie Cat' soon became one of her favourites. In recent years she has joined us for Christmas dinner – this guarantees a relaxed and chatty atmosphere round the table. Today she's in hospital recovering from smoke inhalation and in shock that her little pink cottage is a pile of cinders.

So . . . I've ripped up the old lists and written many new ones; our house seems to have become the incident HQ with the whole village rallying round – where do we start when a neighbour has lost everything? I'm sure you'll understand that blogging will be the last thing on my mind for a week or so.

Merry Christmas from me to all readers of PPPs
and from the studio assistants and
senior and junior under-gardeners :-)

See you in 2009!


  1. Hi, I am so sorry to hear about your friend and her home. How dreadful! Please convey my sympathy to her, I hope she makes a full recovery.

    I hope you and yours enjoy Christmas, it will be memorable if nothing else! I shall be thinking of you and your community and I feel sure that the true spirit of Christmas will prevail.

  2. Goodness, I think we saw this on Anglia News last night. We were saying about how sad it was, and terrible it would be to lose things like photographs.

    I really hope she makes a full recovery and is able to move on from the shock that this must have caused. It sounds as though your community is pretty close knit, so I'm sure you'll come together to make life just that little bit easier for her.

    Wishing you a very merry Christmas and sending my thoughts to your friend xxx

  3. the poor woman! i hope she is recovering well from her shock & the fire! how sad--& how good it is of you to help out. i hope that a happy christmas will out over the soggy pink cottage, the nasty cough, & the chaos of being a good friend :)

  4. What a sad story at any time, but somehow it seems worse at Christmas when others are celebrating. Good wishes to your neighbour. I'm sure people will rally round - they do in our village too.

    Christmas greetings from Vegetable Heaven.

  5. Oh, the poor lady. How appalling. I hope she is up and about again soon. It must be the most awful shock.

    This happened to one of the old thatched cottages in our village a couple of years back, but fortunately no-one was inside at the time, and it has since been rebuilt.

    I hope you manage to have a good Christmas despite this - it must make you reassess what's important, and brings home the benefits of living in a small community ...

  6. Some friends of mine recently lost their home to a fire. They were all home at the time and didn't notice anything until one of them went outside to smoke a cigarette! It is a dreadful thing to lose all your treasured posessions, but better to be alive with the memories of your past. So sad to go through such a tragedy at a time when you are expecting to spend some time at home with friends and family.

  7. Gosh - it puts everything into perspective when something like this happens. I hope your friend makes a full and speedy recovery and hope too that you manage to have a peaceful and happy Christmas Celia.

  8. God, how awful. And here am I, dreading Christmas; couldn't possibly be as bad as this poor woman's.
    Merry Christmas to you, for what it's worth!

  9. What a wonderful neighbourhood! I wish all of these people as happy a Christmas as possible, especially your friend who lost so much.

    Look forward to more Pea Tales in 2009.Happy Christmas, Celia.

  10. We'll keep your friend in our thoughts and prayers. Wishing you and yours warmest wishes for the holiday season.
    --Curmudgeon & Wing Nut

  11. What a dreadful thing to happen, not only at Christmas but at any time of the year. My thoughts go out to them. Margaret, Merry Christmas to you and those you love.

  12. What a dreadful thing to happen! I'm sure the community within your village will get together and make the best of the situation at this time of year! Thank heavens for small mercies and good friends and neighbours!

  13. This is the second post I've read with sobering news. It puts all my fretting into perspective. I'm sorry for your neighbour but also struck by how communities pull together when things like this happen, espeically in small towns. It must be awful to loose your house. What a shock.

  14. Thank you for your good wishes. This was a sobering experience. Our friend came home from hospital a couple of days after the fire, she was lucky to escape with very minor burns and singed hair, her smoke alarm saved her life.

    When I see or read reports of a major house fire I now know that will be only the start of the long clearing up, sorting out and rebuilding process.



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