Sunday, December 5, 2010

Goodness gracious, great ball of fire

I spent Saturday night in the hospital, after deciding to have some friends over for dinner. To be completely honest i can't believe how one thing lead to another but here is my attempt at explaining it.

A few weeks ago i decided i wanted to have a crack at making a rabbit stew. I love to cook, i genuinely think that if i wasn't in the IT field i would love to be somehow involved in food, maybe working as a chef or owning a small deli, i just seem to enjoy food more when I've cooked it. I caught a part of a Rick Stein show where he was in someones restaurant and they were showing him how to cook a 'rich rabbit stifado', Rick Stein said something along the lines of "i consider myself to be a bit of a connoisseur of rabbit and this is just about the best rabbit I've ever tasted". Unfortunately it was those words that made my ears perk up so the cooking process was long gone. I explained to a mate that i really wanted to try this and we went on the hunt to the recipe. Countless google searches bore no fruit so we started sifting through back catalogs of Rick Stein shows which is where i came across 'Rick Steins Far East Oddosy'. This showed him traveling around the Far East and cooking mostly different Asian seafood dishes. I started getting excited about fish and seafood and was talking about this excitement to my friend when he declared the coming summer as "THE SUMMER OF SEAFOOD".

(as i side note i did find the rabbit recipe on 'Rick Steins Mediterranean Escape'. I cooked it, and it was brilliant... if anyone wants a great recipe for Rich Rabbit Stifado [which is an onion based stew] email me and I'll be happy to pass it along. The story of the rabbit however is no where near as good as the opening of the summer of seafood, so I'll get back to that)

I happened to be at a family gathering a week ago and one of my Uncle's was talking about how he had caught more snapper than he could possibly eat and asked if i wanted one, he didn't need to ask me twice and i was around his house the next day to pick up a beautiful 3-4kg fish. I called up my mate and asked him if he had plans for Saturday as i thought we could kick off the summer of seafood with BBQ'd snapper & beers in the back yard. I was informed that this ticked all his boxes so we booked it in.

Dinner went off without a hitch, fantastic snapper (which i stuffed with onion, garlic, butter, lemon & tomato, then seasoned, wrapped it up with foil and stuck it in the closed bbq, 20 minutes on one side, flipped for a further 10. Made a great white wine sauce, that i also got from a Rick Stein show. After dinner (and a few drinks later) we decided that it was a nice enough night to head into the backyard to continue to drink. Outside i have a cast iron chiminea (like an outdoor fireplace) and it was already filled with wood, I thought it'd be a great idea to get it going, and quickly, so petrol was decided on as the best propellant. I poured petrol in the top then set the can down (right next to it ... this was my second mistake - the first being the decision to use petrol). I recall getting a little bit of petrol on my left hand and saying to my mate.

"you better light it, i got petrol on my hand"

"nah, you'll be right, just light it with your other hand" was his response.

In the hospital burns ward they told me, due to the fact it was a warmish night and the chiminea being cast iron it probably retained some of the afternoons heat, most of the petrol that i poured into the top opening was probably turned into vapour and would have completely surrounded me well before i tried to light it. My mate told me that he lost sight of me for a second or two, i was completely engulfed in flames. I ran around the corner of my house and all i could smell was burnt hair. My hand was still on fire and i managed to get it out quickly. I screamed to my friend that the petrol can was on fire and he managed to extinguish it before an explosion that probably would have lead to my house catching on fire. I ran straight to the shower and stood under the cold water for about 25 minutes.

Long story short... a very painful car ride to our local hospital, an ambulance ride from there to a larger hospital, lots of morphine, burn gel and vomiting, i ended up spending the night in the burns ward in incredible pain but i was very lucky. Doctors called what happened to my face, hand and foot as 'superficial burns' although they felt anything but superficial to me. They expect everything to heal with little to no scaring and no needs for skin grafts.

So what have we learnt here. I'd say mostly stuff i should have already known and most people probably do. Don't try to start a fire with petrol, there is no need for fire on a warm night, don't go near fire when you have petrol on your skin, your judgement is a little impaired after a few drinks and its much harder for an ITG (or anyone for that) to type with just one hand.

I've got a week at home in a bit of pain before i have to go back to the burns ward for a follow up, my left hand is completely bandaged up, It hurts to put weight on my right foot, a bit of my hair is missing (I'll need to shave my head), and my face looks like a patchwork of black and missing skin. I'm a sight!! I expect to make a full recovery and get back to posting IT related stories soon.

I'll keep everyone updated with how I'm doing, thanks so much for reading.

Cheers, The (slightly singed) ITG.


  1. thanks for that story, it really cheered me up

  2. Poor ITG. I wish you a speedy recovery.

  3. see that is what you get for trusting a mate saying she'll be right. Hope you get better

  4. Having done something similar with an incinerator, I know how that feels. Didn't stop me laughing (just a little)

  5. LOL, got bacon with that?