On putting out other peoples’ fires

I saw this as I was walking to the supermarket:

Seldom smoke without fire..

So I went to investigate. As you do.

I like fire, generally, if it’s contained and/or supervised. I don’t much appreciate fires living by themselves in my town.

I stomped out the flames but didn’t have any way to do anything with the embers.


…I left it smoking gently to itself and went shopping.

One bottle of water was almost enough to put it all out, the second silenced all the hissing sticks and the third turned the whole thing into a soggy ashy gloopy mess.

My phone didn’t know quite what to make of it..

And then I picked up the unnecessary fourth bottle and the three empty bottles and the rest of my shopping and went home.

The end.

On saving the world, a pint at a time

This morning started the same way most mornings do – in a bid to stay in bed and pretend the world wasn’t actually expecting me to get up and be useful.

I spent longer than I meant to looking for the paperwork I needed to take with me, which resulted in missing the train I originally wanted to catch and in turn having to wait almost 10 minutes for the next one. On the plus side, I got to the final-station without missing any stops and so having to go back (that happens more often than I want to admit.. especially when I’m reading ;)).

So anyway. All was as it usually is. Nothing told me it was going to be a special, heroic, Jesska-saves-the-world sort of day.

When I reached my station, I walked along the platform to the steps…





Not the sort of smoke that cigarettes or cigars produce, this was the sort of unwelcome plastic-bag-in-a-bonfire kind of smoke.



The kind of smoke that makes the end of your nose wrinkly and your mouth go all scrunched up.


Ah! A dustbin on fire. Joyous.

Everyone else walked past it, either oblivious or unconcerned or busy or late or whatever causes people to not care about what’s going on around them.

I had no water on me, and nothing else in the way of fire-stopping material (odd that ;)) and there are no taps and no Security People at this station.

Now what?

On the one hand, I think the Fire Brigade have enough serious problems to deal with, without being called out to put out smoking dustbins on platforms.

On the other, I didn’t know who else to call*.

By this point I should have been at work already. I’d spent 9 unnecessary minutes waiting at the first station due to missing my train, and I was getting later and later with every thought about smoking bins. I very nearly went to work and ignored it, but there’s something in me that can’t do that.

When all else fails, find a baker.

Most train stations in Berlin (and a fairly high percentage in the rest of Germany) have at least one ‘resident’ bakery. I haven’t ever bought anything from this one, but I generally smile on my way past, or wish him a good “Feierabend” (literally: “Party-evening” = evening of not working = what’s left of the day when you finish work) depending on whether I’m coming or going. This morning, instead of smiling and walking past, I went in and asked him what he thought I/we should do about the burning dustbin. He just shrugged, which irritated me for a couple of seconds until I realised there wasn’t actually much he could suggest, restricted as he was to his 6m² of shopfloor and oven full of half-baked breadrolls. Not to mention the steady stream of customers.

I asked him if he had a bucket, and if so if he could fill it with water so I could do my best firefighting act. He is a very obliging baker, even if he did look at me as if I was the strangest thing he’d seen all morning.

This is the closest he came to having a bucket:

As jugs go, this was a fairly big one. As buckets go…. well… *sighs*


Neither beggers nor Jesskas can be choosers when it comes to buckets, so I thanked him and made my way back down to the platform.

A couple of trips up and down the steps later, and the bin had stopped smouldering and was now standing in a puddle.

I gave the baker his jug back, wished him a good day and started out in the direction of my workshop.

A few metres up the road (where the lift is) I saw this:

A brand new, shiny, dustbin, presumably meant as a replacement for the one that had been on fire.

Someone must have phoned the train company (something I hadn’t thought of doing… :S).


When I came home this evening, none of the bins had been replaced. I feel almost heroic 🙂





* Ghostbusters didn’t seem right either…

On Christmas trees and traditions

Most people would probably think of baubles presents or sparkly sweet wrappers if you asked them for a Christmas tree tradition. Some might have a decorating ritual, or a special stand. Some might go out into the forest and cut their own.

The DB has his own tradition.

The tree hides, or tries to hide, in the corner of the garden until it’s almost warm enough to sit outside in the evenings. Then people are invited over for dinner, usually a bbq, and the Christmas tree is dragging out of hiding, hacked into pieces and burned on a mini bonfire.


I think I can deal with this kind of tradition :).