I am interested in tiny things that flash through our minds, hundreds every moment. Sometimes registering as interesting, it takes a change to become a thought and an emotional drive to become action. What has been on my mind is a flash at Christmas.
This flash actually stopped me in the job of the constructing of the Christmas Gingerbread house in December. The tree has to lean against the house to be upright! Danger. Burning leaves. Bushfire !! I stared in disbelief at this biscuit tree as my mind went into bushfire preparation mode. The gingerbread tree was unable to stand up by its self, instead it rested against the house. Prepare the house for eminent danger. Make it safe. Cut the lolly snake into strips to make a hose hose. Scramble thro the wrapped presents for the grand children and find the doll’s house stuff with the miniature water can and rake. The rake is bamboo, how useless will that be against ember attack. Lucky the watering can is metal and appropriate scale.
I am serious now. The ginger bread house will be a fun fire education christmas eating experiment. This kit has a mom, two children, a dog, plus the offending tree. At least it is an evergreen, a rare sort, not identifiable. There are icing circles for fence and half a dozen coloured small circles of icing to stick on the roof which I see illustrated as shingles but they could be reinterpreted as Slate for safety reasons. I analyse the drawing on the packaging. The white icing is snow, but it is summer here. Do I change the entire structure and create a new sort of Australian safe ginger bread house? The woman in her long sleeves, scarf around her head, could be wool, could be wet, is deemed sensible. The children are sensibly dressed too. Extreme heat and extreme cold requires similar layers of protection. The problem with this house conversion plan is, there is no room for all these extras around the house. The cute children go inside, unseen. I mix up quantities of white icing to stabilise the walls that are moving out from their alloted slots in the base. I don’t want overhanging eaves that might allow trapped embers to catch alight or fly inside the roof cavity and smolder into fire.
Constructing a ginger bread house is a work of infinite patience, and balance for the non crafty, non pastry chef, clumsy fingured sort of cook. The phone goes. The friend says I sound stressed. No, she’s never made a ginger bread house, they look far too complicated. Her reaction on hearing of my dilemma with fire safety caused me to abandon my plans. I suspect she thinks I’ve become a fanatic, possibly adding to stress to the family. I compromised. I removed all the fire fighting equipment, the hose, the watering can, the empty pot plants ( potential water containers), moved the two child figurines nearer to the door. The mom stayed on watch. I beat up more icing and placed the tree as far from the house as possible, standing in it’s own block of icing. No matter what the wind speed it was unmovable. Never would it blow against the house. The dusted icing sugar reminded me of ash, so the ‘snow’ turned green with dye from strategically placed lollies.
Beautifully wrapped in cellophane, the star on the roof shinning through, the house was admired by my family, given to another who could not eat it, and so passed on again. No one knows the story of this house but I like to believe those who admired, and ate this safe house will incorporate the fire safe principles, a bit like the 100th monkey story.