Matches Maketh the Fire?


This piece was inspired by the following news story in today’s Rotorua Daily Post:

Cigarette stub warning after blaze  (Hold the [ Ctrl ] key down while clicking; it will open the news story in a new window, and you can get back here without distractions … heheh. This applies to all links in any web page.)

No mention in the piece was made by the possibility of the blaze being started by a still burning match–I guess because lighters are more frequently carried around by smokers.

I was a young child when I learned about matches. On the farm, there was always an understanding that a dropped match (back then wax matches were common) could easily start a summer fire in a hay crop or in the bush. (Another concern was a matchstick could get munched by a grazing stock, and splinter in its mouth, throat or farther down.)

So smoker farm workers would return the dead match to the box.

But as wax matches were so easily touched off, the Vespa (then even the Beehive brand “new” safety match) was returned to the box with its head at the opposite end of the box from the rest of the “live” heads.

R Bell & Co Wax Vesta matches

Bryant & May_RJ Bell_Beehive wax vestas & matches

Beehive matches box_earlier design        Beehive matches_twelve boxes_early design

Note the twelve pack of matches–children with little spending money would buy their dad a carton of matches as a birthday gift! “Quelle horreure!”

Today’s smokers borrowing my box of matches get Really Annoyed finding dead matches in the box! I still cannot let myself drop a match! I can’t even put it into an ash tray, after seeing an uncle light up his pipe and drop the hot Vespa into an ash tray. An unlit Vespa was lying there, and the heat from the blown out match was enough to set fire to the Vespa. (Aunty was Not amused.)

I believe hunters, campers and outdoorsy types can and do take wax matches along. They are safer now, not being lying loose in the box where the friction of them jumbling together could and would set the box afire. Thus they are stored in a tin, not the former cardboard matchbox.

Match superstition started during Boer War when night snipers picked off British soldiers as they lighted up. — topics.time.com
Match superstition started during Boer War when night snipers picked off British soldiers as they lighted up.
— topics.time.com

There was also a superstition–“It’s unlucky to light three smokers’ cigarettes from a single match”.

This came from war times. In the dead of night a sniper from the “other side” would see the flare of the match being lit, then the glow of the first to light up, the second to light up–and that was enough for them to work out where the third would-be smoker was, and shoot him.

(The link is to a Wikipedia article giving more details of the superstition on usage in popular media.)

If Dickens had such an editor…


An Extreme Tale

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” — Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
When was the last time that sentence accurately described your life?

Sorry, not what was wanted, but I could Not resist giving you summat to chuckle at…

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Hi, old pal – long time no see!


My imaginary friend – singular? Oh, no – I had lots of them.

In my imaginary conversations (which in fact were spoken out loud to myself) I talked non-stop. Their complete replies came to me in the brief time for me to draw breath to speak to them again. This made me the family chatter-box – non-stop talker, me.

When I related to my Mum or Dad what my friend of the day and I had done, where we’d gone, what we’d done or seen, I’d be called a fibber, and sometimes growled for it if the story told about places where my imaginary friend and I had been with my elder sister, or things we had seen her do or heard her say.

I genuinely lived those imaginary moments as if they were real. I had my own world in which all was real to me.

The friends I remember readily were in fact other children who at school I never got to play with – they were younger or older than I. But in my five to six-year old “imaginary reality”, we were equals. I also had imaginary friendships with Peer Gynt, children from the Selfish Giant’s garden, and other radio children’s stories’ characters. But ‘playing’ with these was not as often nor as absorbing as playing with imaginary school friends, as the former had the game all scripted of course.

So – Today I meet John and Christine – the two red- (no, ginger-) -haired twins from the younger class. He’s now in a top position in education but I have no idea how Christine’s life turned out. I would have to admit to them, they were the inspiration for my life-long desire to have red hair. So much so that I confess freely to one and all that I sometimes get my hair coloured. They also were the trigger for me deciding Lucille Ball was worth watching on the tele in later years, and I’ve always said how I’ve wanted her hair colour. (“Hubby fit” time whenever I mention this.)

I meet again Richard, and have to ask him exactly why he rammed me up against one of the giant oak trees in the school yard while we were playing Bull Rush. (In my imaginary world, I had later rammed hin into the oak, and slapped him silly. Hearing me talk about it had Mum telephoning his parents to apologise for me, and after they talked to Richard, they called back and put her straight. (“You mustn’t tell fibs.”)

I again meet Paul, and have to tell him how much I liked the little needle book he had given me as a birthday gift – even though I had known it was one of his mother’s, and had no use for it, except to inspire imaginary conversations with him about mending his shirts and sewing table cloths. I’d also tell him about copying it to make a new one of my own when I really had to sew for myself.

I meet Diana, and tell her I always thought she was an absolute traitor to the feminist cause when she “threw” the race against (sp?) Milanian just so she could marry him. What a waste of her talent.

I meet Christopher Robin and all his forest friends, and show Owl my collection of owl ornaments, and tell him how I used his “Happy Birthday” message on the classroom blackboard for every one of my younger pupils’ birthdays.

I meet Me Bogeywomp, and tell him how much fun it was to play with him and Us Wild-Garage, You Long-Nose-Snog and all, creating new creatures in our shared world while “being” Susan (character sharing my elder sister’s name), and how hard I have searched all my life for copies of the book: one to own for myself and one for my sister.

Yep, imaginary friends in childhood are wonderful. They inspire imagination and creativity. They let a youngster put a story together, to make sense of how they feel about real life events (like being slammed into an oak tree). Every child should be allowed one at least.

                                                                                 

A response to Daily Post :: Imaginary Friend

Many of us as young children had imaginary friends. If your imaginary friend grew up alongside you, what would his/her/its life be like today?

Why stop at sixty? Why not one hundred twenty?


Twenty-Five Seven ?   Good news — another hour has just been added to every 24-hour day (don’t ask us how. We have powers). How do you use those extra sixty minutes?http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/twenty-five-seven/

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Sixty minutes, huh? Well, b’jasus, why stop there? Why not one-twenty – then I could really get stuff done…

Two Bodhran practice session, half an hour each. I just bought one, and have, at You Tube, subscribed to every set of Bodhran lessons there are. Determined to be able to drum it up on St Paddy’s Day.

Then there’s the Tin Whistle – bought that too, a while back. Again, subscribed to every set of Tin Whistle teachers on You Tube. What holds me back is – I cannot for th’ loif of me read the music. And having had to learn the recorder at primary skoowel doesn’t help at all, at all. Now play a tune for me, give me a day or two, and I’ll have it down pat.

(No, I didn’t say ‘I’ll have it down, Pat’!)

So dere’s anudder t’irty minutes left? Dat’s easy.
Guinness Yoga. Ye meditate for as long as it takes for th’ chill to leave th’ pint glass or th’ head to go, whichever’s first. Then meditate peaceful-like between each sup, until yer own head goes, if yez know what I mean.

 

Who Needs a Dictionary? One Day, I Did!


Embarrassment Delayed, Thank Heavens…

Response to the Dictionary, Smictionary Daily Prompt at …
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/dictionary-shmictionary/

I’d always been a bit of a jokester (thanks, Dad), and meeting a fellow student at Teachers’ College who also appreciated the double entendre, and not only she, but meeting her in an English course taught by Pat, a drily ironic punster, that first year was a hoot.
Other students would wait for some wise-crack or other. Of special entertainment were the occasions when the three of us, in the midst of a lecture/discussion, would follow a tangent and chase every terrible pun we could fit into a chain of one-liners.

Because of this habit, I got away with an enormous GOTWK (goofup of the worst kind) simply because other students (another paper in the course) who knew me thought I’d made one of my usual bad puns. And it was bad, as I had not at that stage read every word in the dictionary*.
The discussion of the moment was aimed at making us rethink our motivation for wanting to be a teacher.
“What would you have chosen if not teaching?” was the topic.One girl stated she had thought of taking up penal psychology.

“I didn’t know you could study psychology about penises?!” I said, and thinking back, lord alone knows why.

Mass crack-up at my “joke” that wasn’t throughout the room (I Really Did think that was what she meant and Was Genuinely Surprised at her choice), and the would-be penal psychologist turned beet red, and shot me a filthy look.

Hours later, back at my flat, I realized she had Not meant “penile psychology”! Oh the shame! I kept my head down in every lecture the next day, and still snigger at myself for being so D-U-M-B!!!

* …still haven’t. Goof-ups continue, though thankfully more rarely these days

Ten Minutes Writing – DP Prompt Ready, Set, Done!


http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/ready-set-done-4/

Ten minutes writing, huh? Okay, first decide which app to write with -Pages or Notes. Settle on Notes as it’s easier and quicker to get going.
Then find and download a timer from the iStore. Looking for something simple, not an interval gym training timer, not a lap timer, just a plain old timer. Aha! Found one! Two buttons – Start and Pause. That’ll do. Install and don’t worry that it’s not received enough reviews for the average rating to be shown.
Start it.
Start Notes.
Oh shut. Decide what to write about – got that in the wrong order, right?
And oh dear, I don’t even know if the timer is visual only or will “beep” at me when time’s up. So I’ll just keep writing about writing non stop for ten minutes. And if I find I go over the ten minutes – what then? Post this as a Post to the Challenge of the 9th?
Then Uninstall the timer I chose and look for another which Does beep at me?
Writing to a set time burst is similar to the challenges set by WriMos to other WriMos, so having a decent timer would be handy for next month, yeh?
Sorry, cannot stop myself from stopping to take a peek at that timer. Back in a tick-tock.
One minute thirty six seconds to go. I’ll add on four seconds for the time it took to go check. Still don’t know if it’s going to beep at me.
Maybe it’ll just turn from counting down to counting up? Then how will I know where I was up to on the ten minute mark? This is getting fiddly and frustrating. But still fun. So I shall continue.
No.
Back in a tick-tock…

Oh, sad… Got there with a second to go, and by the time I opened it, it had stopped. no Beep at all!

Oh, No – He’ll Find Out!


Have you ever suffered from ‘Imposter Syndrome’? (The Daily Post challenge for Thu, 27 Mar, ’14)

It’s the first day of the new school year in summer, and I’m in the assembly hall with all the pupils waiting to find out in whose class I’ll be this year. It’s the start of my second and final year at Intermediate – it only teaches Forms One and two, then we have to move onwards and upwards to Secondary School.

The Principal is standing at the lectern, the teaching staff seated in a row behind him. One or two are wearing strange black robes. One by one, a teacher is called to stand beside him, and a list of names is read out. The children leave the rows where they’ve been sitting with friends or foes from their Primary Schools or last year’s Form One class. Their teacher stands over them, pointing to the first girl to arrive to show her where she’s to stand They form a line across the hall in front of the stage, then follow their new teacher who in a military style, comes down the stage steps and leads them off,

“Sshh! Silence as we walk!” We hear that from inside the hall as the line is led across the quadrangle to block B, room eight. My classroom last year.

The allocation continues… until I’m one of those left for the last teacher. We know him – it’s Mr Turner, the Deputy Principal. Our name’s called, and we form the line, and he walk behind us as we leave the hall.

“Room A4. You know that.” His voice is brisk, but friendly.

Once in class, I see the seats are arranged as they’d been in my last year’s classroom. Rows of neatly aligned desks, in pairs, which have name tags and a pencil on each. I find my seat and at last can look around to see who I know and who’s new.

My heart sinks … Robert from “Por’smiff-in-Englan’ “ isn’t here. I hope he is at the school, and me jabbing his bum last year with my new compass didn’t make his Mum and Dad leave town.

We start lessons, first having to stand at the front of the class and tell who we are, whose class we were in last year, what we had enjoyed most over the December-January holiday. Then we had to show a sample of our best writing, in our best handwriting, so we were asked to write for half an hour without stopping or talking, about either the holidays or what we wanted to be when we left school.

More routine tasks – then the bell rang for morning break. Outside, among the hordes of new kids running around exploring the grounds, peering into the windows of the Art and Science, the Woodwork and Metalwork, and the Cooking and Sewing blocks, I roamed around the quadrangle. I’d not recognised many of the girls in my new class, and was looking for one of last year’s friends. Joanne came pelting up to me.

“Lynne! G’day! I’m in Mrs Percival’s class. Where did you get put?”

“Mr Turner’s class.”

“Ooh, that’s the ‘brainy kids’ class! Boy are you going to have to work hard there!”

“No, it’s not the brainy kids’ class. Why would they put me in there? I’m not brainy.” I felt indignant at the idea that people could have decided so wrongly. Then she dropped another bomb-shell:

“Well, we were in the Form One brainy kids’ class last year. Of course they’re going to put you in Mr Turner’s class. Ooh, there’s Mary – see you later!” And she was gone.

Leaving me feeling numb and dumbstruck. Me – brainy? No, they’d got it wrong, surely.

Well, I was in the “brainy kids’”  class all year. And it was a year of hell, emotionally. There were funny moments – like when one of the boys went snooping through papers on Mr. Turner’s desk one lunch time, and announced to us all …

“Hey, he’s Frederick, Gordon, Sylvester, Turner!” I don’t think any one of us ever forgot his full name. after the laugh we got out of it.

Mr. Turner demonstrated playing the violin – bowing and pizzicato, tunes, sound effects. It was that which made me ask my Mum if I could learn the violin. He called in a St John’s Ambulance speaker, to demonstrate reviving someone with chest compressions, I asked Mum if I could do the St. John’s First Aid course, and finished it in half the expected time, passed the tests, and started on their Home Nursing course.

As Deputy Principal, there was a time each day when Mr Turner had to leave us with work and go and work in his office in the Staff Block. He’d be away for between a half and a full hour at a time.

Whenever he was over in his office, I would keep  my head down, not talk to anyone, and make sure I got the chore done – while all the time expecting him to say on his return…

“Lynne, it looks like we made a mistake. You’re not meant to be in this class after all. You’re meant to be with Miss Porteous” (She was the teacher in charge of the special needs kids who couldn’t learn and the hard cases who wouldn’t learn.)

It was that shock of being lumped into the role of imposter, feeling I didn’t deserve to be there and the fear I would be discovered as an imposter, a fake, a dumby, that made me work so bloody hard for him.

It was many years later that I knew enough about schools ( trained as a teacher) that I realized I was one of the brainy kids, which had been why the private convent school had placed me into the Academic stream, rather than the Trade & Commerce stream. At the time I thought only the clever kids got to do sewing, cooking, domestic science, typing and in their senior year, shorthand. I was SO jealous of my older sister, who was learning French AND German, and Clothing, I was sure she was (is—still do think so) the clever daughter in the family.