You’re in for a treat guys, this one really is quite spectacular.
It was the summer of my gap year and I had not long come back from a month of travelling around Europe. I got in the car ready to go to a friend’s and, realising it was low on petrol, headed to the local garage to fill up. I was waiting in line, having topped up the fuel tank, when one of the cashiers opened up a second till and, despite me not being next in the queue, called me over to pay. Well, on getting to the till I was not expecting an inquisition! In a quiet but stern tone, he asked if I had come in a week or so ago, filled up my car with petrol and then driven off without paying. Safe to say I was very taken aback at being accused of such a crime, even more so because I had not even been back in the country for more than 24 hours! My shock was visible and I explained to him that there was simply no way my travel plans would have allowed for me to pop back to a sleepy town in England a week or so ago to steal some petrol. He apologised, but said that he had CCTV footage of a woman parking up, in a car with the same number plate as mine, and doing exactly that. My confusion cleared instantly. “Yep. That sounds like something my mother would do.” Unsurprisingly, he was not nearly as amused as I was. He simply asked that I tell my mother she should come and pay her debts because he had reported the crime to the police and there was a chance they would be paying her a visit. Of course I went straight home and questioned Mum on whether she had filled up her car and then failed to pay. A look of shocked realisation immediately fell across her face, she grabbed her purse and headed out the door, knocking the ironing board over in the process.
Only a few days later, my brother was leaving the house and about to get in the car before noticing a slightly concerning amount of smoke at the other end of the garden. He walked down to find Mum rummaging around desperately trying to find her phone next to some trees that were, quite unbelievably, ablaze. She looked up as he came over and exclaimed, “I was only trying to burn some leaves!” Although in a state of utter confusion as to why she couldn’t have just used a compost heap, there was a more pressing matter at hand so my brother joined the search. The phone was immediately located, the fire brigade was called and in a matter of minutes the truck was powering down our quiet country lane. I should note at this point, we live in a very small village in the Essex countryside, its one of those places where everyone knows everyone. So the door opened and there was a cheery greeting from a number of the Dads at my sister’s school. They’d had no difficulty in locating the house, as they regularly drop their daughters off here for play dates. They quickly saw to the fire, and rather unconvincingly reassured Mum that it happened to people all the time!
I doubt there are many people who have managed to set fire to their own garden and accidentally steal petrol from the local garage. I’ll bet there are even fewer who have succeeded in doing both of those things in the same week. Congrats Mum, an impressive achievement.