Our house is on a very narrow, small cul-de-sac. It's very tight to turn a vehicle around in too. Partially because some driveways are too narrow to get a car up, necessitating that they be drawn up, half onto the pavement half on the road, but also because all the neighbours drive there are simply too many cars to fit on their drives, so the road is made even narrower by parked cars. Imagine then my interest when a fire-engine drove up, a ladder-engine. Hang on, is someone's house on fire? Look for smoke...signs of panic, shouts, people? Not a sign. What a relief - all quiet, just the usual Saturday afternoon in the suburbs of the city, not a soul in sight. The engine stopped, presumably ruminating on how to get out of the situation without pranging anything. Two lovely young firemen jump out and go to the rear to direct operations, up a bit, left a bit, forward, back, shunt shunt, eventually the great red engine managed to park up, and sat there. And sat there... I'm watching through my bedroom window, I could just about see inside the cab they were just chatting. I suddenly thought of all the dangerous things these young men do for us. Bright young men doing a job not everyone could contemplate. Downstairs now, I'm rummaging through my larder. Do I have chocolate somewhere? No.. but I have biscuits, completely covered with chocolate. I fling on a sweater and some shoes and make my way outside into the sunny September afternoon.
As I reached the engine the door swung open and six lovely smiley faces peered down at me.
" I don't know why you're here." I ventured, "But, I just wanted to give you these." handing up the packet.
" You don't know why we're here? We're here to fit smoke-alarms, do you have them?"
"Do they work?"
"They do, yes. Anyway...... I just wanted to thank you all for what you do. I think you do a brilliant job! I know you sometimes get abuse and even rocks thrown at you, but the people on this road are all nice people. So...Thank you! I think you're all brilliant!"
Six lovely handsome faces grinned down at me.
"Well.....it's not often we get this kind of treatment, thank you. We're not supposed to accept gifts but seeing as they arr..r..e chocolate! Thank you very much!"
They all waved as they drove off into the afternoon, it was lovely. Afterwards I felt emotional thinking of the brave job that they do, these ordinary men who do extraordinarily dangerous jobs for us all every day.
It's not often we get a chance to be able to say thank you, I'm so glad that I did!