I’m the fire starter, restaurant fire starter…

(This photo has absolutely nothing to do with anything.)

When I wrote about our Edinburgh ghost walk this weekend, I forgot to tell you how I ended the evening: by almost setting a restaurant on fire.

We’d booked a table at a restaurant near the Vaults, so that when our tour was finished, we could just hop across the road and grab something to eat.  When we arrived, though, we were told that the restaurant’s credit card machine had broken down, so it was cash only. Well, no problem: as usual, neither of us had any cash on us, but there was an ATM just a couple of minutes away, so Terry headed off to get some money while I began the lengthy process of divesting myself of all of my many layers of outerwear. Because it was October, and we’d be walking around outdoors at night, you see, I’d assumed it would be freezing, but, of course, last weekend was actually unseasonably warm, so by the time I arrived at the restaurant, I felt like I was fresh out of an oven.

This feeling only intensified as I sat down to take a look at the menu. In fact, as I scanned through it, I became more and more convinced that I could smell something burning. Given the terrible tales of FIRE we’d just heard in the Vaults, and my overheated state, I was pretty sure the “something” must be me. “I knew it!” I thought feverishly. “A demon has totally followed me out of that haunted stone circle, and now I’m about to spontaneously combust. Why does this sort of thing always happen to ME?”

But it wasn’t me that was burning.

It was my menu.

My menu which I had somehow managed to dip into the candle on the table, and which was now ON FIRE: and I’m talking huge flames leaping towards the ceiling, probably going to burn down the whole restaurant if I don’t do something about it NOW. THAT kind of “on fire”.

What I chose to do first of all, was to shriek loudly, as if I was being attacked by the fire. It was completely involuntary, and, yes, quite embarrassing actually, now you come to mention it. Then I had to throw the menu to the floor and STAMP on it to get the flames out. GOD.

I thought I’d gotten away with it. The restaurant, you see, was a kind of T-shape, and it so happened that the other patrons, plus the waitress, all happened to be in a part of the T which my table wasn’t visible from when the burnin’ happened. So I sat back down and tried to read my now-burned menu, thinking no one would be any the wiser.

A few seconds later, however, Terry arrived back from the ATM and confirmed that he had noticed the smell of burning as soon as he’d opened the door, and had known instantly that it would have something to do with me. I would take offence at this, but, let’s face it, I have form with this kind of thing, having previously set a flower on fire in another restaurant.

(And then a minute later, the waitress appeared and offered me another menu, presumably having witnessed the whole thing. They probably have it on CCTV or something.)

That’s why I will now answer to the name “The Firestarter”. Or, if you prefer, “Twisted Firestarter”.

It’s a good job I don’t smoke, eh? Just imagine the trouble I’d get into THEN!


(Also: once I’d finished telling Terry this sorry tale, his first question to me was “Did you take a photo of it?” I really need to blog less…)