Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The Fire (Part 3) - the final fire chapter

A month ago today it was my birthday, the day after the fire at Hanworth House. Miss HH made sure the day started as it should, with a birthday breakfast - I don't know about you, but a home-made birthday card is just about the loveliest thing you can get ! Not to mention the passionfruit slice made by A my fabulous neighbour - she's Greek you know!

Then of course a swift return to the crime scene. The presumed arsonist was in custody. But his legacy of damage engulfed us.  I had not yet looked in at the second floor which was earmarked for my office so I braved my fears and ventured upstairs - it wasn't pretty.

If you want to see for yourself the devastation, this was the week previously (before polished floors) - the beautiful cupboard had been completely blown in so much so that you could now see through to the roof space. The fire went wild up here. The hunky firemen spent ages trying to control it in this part of the house.

For me this is one of the most poignant photos I have - Builder HH just trying to take it all in

Ok, enough graphic shots. It was my birthday after all. And I promised you a blog which was cheerier than yesterday's.  So the always positive Miss HH surprised me by arriving laden with balloons, birthday signs and chocolate (got to love that girl!) This cheered me up to no end.

Fire met fun at the front door of Hanworth.

She bought a basket of Easter eggs to cheer on all the workers...

Builder HH's beautiful wife called in with presents and to just give me a hug. The last time we were together I was hugging her on her steps as flood waters took hold of their beautiful home - I told her we really would have to stop meeting under such dire disasterous circumstances!

Then the multitude of tasks ahead brought an abrupt end to our short-lived frivolity -  I decided to open the gates of Hanworth to signify to the team that, whilst we were a little jaded, bruised and somewhat singed around the edges, we were open for business:

The veritable PA HH arrived also -  in her work boots no less! These were serious times, she said, and called for serious measures!

Then PA HH whipped us into action and tasked us with some serious birthday chores. 

We boarded! 

We cleared and cleaned - We filled skips

We shed tears, especially when we had to say our final goodbyes to the grand piano

But we had some laughs too, especially when we had cake!

Although the ceiling was starting to blister, our spirits were not (well maybe they were - just trying not to think about it too much - it's my birthday remember!)

And do you remember the Monday night birthday roses - the ones that, although parched, were still with us?

Well in a truly ironic moment, they were returned to the steps of the room that PA HH and I came into over 4 months ago on our first day on site - this is what it looked like then

Now the roses have a new home - I will be keeping these petals - even through they had been through so much they are still, in their own resilient way, somewhat beautiful.

So as the sun went down, the final skip for the day was removed and travelled down Lytton Road

And I took myself home to have some more birthday cake!

Never will I forgot my birthday 20 March 2013. Here ends the 3 days in the life of the fire at Hanworth (affectionately known as The Fire Trilogy).  At this point, although I look in control, I was far from it.  More hard days followed as the adrenalin subsided and the harsh reality of the extent of what had occurred in these 3 days finally started to dawn.

But that's another story for another day!

x HH



  1. Just like an Australian Wildflower in the bush, needing fire to break open the pod to release the seeds for future generations of beauty.

  2. What a gorgeous comment - don't blame me if I inadvertently use it one day and claim it as my own!