|Fire in a small village which did not have its own fire brigade was always a memorable experience. Here Joyce Kemp recalls tales of fires from her youth, and Bill Elstow remembers his grandmother’s self induced firestorm!|
Grandad Westbrook told us about his
brother Towers as a boy being woken up in the night by their
father telling him to get his pony out and ride into Alton to
get the fire brigade. The hop kiln was on fire at Hodges Farm
where they lived, when a farm worker dropped a lamp into the
| Although from her teens she had always
lived in London she had in fact been born only a few miles from
Froyle in a village called Upton Grey, and it was as if returning
once more to the country at the age of 63 had mellowed her. She
was always laughing and had a wonderful sense of humour and could
enjoy a laugh at her expense, as on the occasion of her own individual
At the back of her cottage was a very large field that usually planted with a cereal of some kind. During the year it was her practice to put all her hedge cuttings over into the field to dry under the hedge and then once the corn had been cut and the sheaves collected she would have a bonfire. On this particular occasion it had been a very hot August and the cuttings were tinder dry. She raked them out with my help and into a pile and then leant forward to put a match to it. It was if she had put a match to a pile of gun cotton. There was a crackling whoosh, an immediate mountain of searing flame, which, before it leapt away into the air, swirled round and momentarily engulfed my grandmother. When she emerged her wispy white hair had been reduced to a brown crisp ash and her eyebrows had disappeared completely. What did she do?
She just dissolved into fits of laughter at her new, and to her, hilarious appearance.