Some things you just regret.

No matter what kind of positive spin you endeavour to apply, the only thing you can conjure is a philosophical “I’ll put it down to one of life’s experiences.”

No, it’s nothing earth-shattering like the death of a much loved pet, a facial disfigurement or the resurrection of Osama bin Laden.

It was just cold that evening. The fireplace had hardly ever been used since we moved in. So with some spare logs, kindling, newspaper and fire starters, I lit the flame.

I don’t have a red finger, nor a green thumb. Nothing I’ve planted in our garden has ever thrived (other than those that turned out to be unruly weeds). Any fires I’ve ever set whether in fireplaces or wood heaters (other than the one that nearly burnt down the neighbours house when I was a kid) have spluttered into nothing.

But this fire was different.

It burnt strongly, merrily in our lounge.

“At last,” I said to myself, “I can light a most respectable fire!”

Not longer after, a distinct smoky odour filled the house. To my horror, smoke was pouring out of the fireplace. Uncoiling like some bizarre serpent from a Harry Potter movie.

I threw open all the windows on this cold night. After much time had passed, my family felt like we could breath again.

A week has now gone by, the windows have been opened whenever possible, yet I can still discern the taunting whiff of smoke.

“Dad, you going to light a fire tonight,” says my son cheekily.

I shake my head with a rueful smile.

No I won’t. Not now. Not ever.

I’ll put it all down to one of life’s experiences.

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