Tuesday, September 23, 2014
It was only when I was about 9 that my mother first acquired an electric jug. Such things were not common in Innisfail at that time. The lady down the road, Mrs Young, did however from early on have an immerser ("immersion heater") -- which is basically an electric jug without the jug. It was just a heating element that you could attach to a power cord and immerse in a bowl of water. It would then heat the water in the bowl until you turned it off.
Horace Young and my father were in the same business -- timber getting -- so the families knew one-another but were certainly not close -- rivals more
In those days back doors were not usually locked (only people you didn't know came to the front door) and if a neighbourhood kid walked in your open back door you would say Hello and treat the kid more or less as one of your own. And I had been in the Young's house on a number of occasions and seen the immerser in use. I was only about 4 at the time but was fascinated by this unfamiliar gadget.
Then one day I wandered into the Young's house and found no one home. I went straight to the immerser, put it in a bowl of water and turned it on. I watched the little bubbles in the water for a while and then lost interest. I wandered off leaving the immerser ON!
It must have been a pretty sturdy piece of kit because it evaporated all the water, broke the bowl and then proceeded to burn a hole in the wooden floor.
Eventually the Youngs came home to this scene of disaster and tried to make sense of it. Eventually someone asked me if I had been in the house and in my usual honest way I said I had. So partly because of that honesty I was not punished for it but was taken to see the hole in the floor. It had burnt almost through one of the floorboards.
I was too young to know of any other repercussions.