Jane Embury follows up her article on domestic stupidity…with a cautionary tale of bad luck.
With more of us at home, the risk is that we do more stupid things more often.
Northern Ireland, for example, has seen a rise of 50% in household fires. Between March and April, that added up to 500 additional incidents.
It’s the same across the country, and the main causes have been cooking or electrical mishaps.
The insurer Aviva has even warned householders to be careful, particularly with barbecues and bonfires.
They’ve seen bonfires setting fire to bins and and explosions from gas cylinders. Most dangerous, the heat from a barbecue melted a conservatory.
We gave a couple of examples, although dating to before lockdown. We particularly mentioned the Welsh lady who in 2014 tried to kill a spider using a lit aerosol can.
She merely succeeded in burning down her house.
The lesson we suggested was to ensure that your house is fire-protected. Smoke alarms may seem obvious, but a lot of homes are still without one.
Also, if the worst comes to the worst, making sure you have an agreed evacuation plan. Having appropriate fire extinguishers is also a good idea.
However, an important lesson is that it’s the precaution you didn’t take that you may forever regret.
We’re thinking in particular of the French pensioner who last week blew up part of his house while trying to kill a fly. It was disturbing his dinner.
The bizarre incident happened in the Dordogne village of Parcoul-Chenaud, north east of Bordeaux last Friday.
Irritated by the fly, the 80-year-old tried to kill it with an electronic zapper.
It looks a little like a tennis racquet and is designed to burn insects on contact.
However, what the pensioner didn’t realise was that he’d left the gas on. The hot zapper ignited the gas.
The result was an explosion that destroyed the kitchen and badly damaged his roof.
So, on top of our other safety advice, best also obtain a gas detector. You never know when a fly might try to land in your soup.
On this occasion, the pensioner was lucky. He escaped with a burned hand although can’t return home until repairs have been completed.
The fate of the fly is unknown.