Personally, it was a surreal day yesterday for me. Around 18:00, Patrick came home and seemed a little subdued. I figured, he's tired. Not unusual, after a long day. I was cuddling X-ray watching Toy Story but then asked Patrick, "What's up? You look perturbed?". He says, "I'll tell you later. Want some wine?". Of course, I want some wine.
Over a glass of wine by our window we comment on how crazy windy it is, the weather is shocking. Rain, spooky strong winds, tree branches strewn across the streets. "Wow, can you believe it's May? What a miserable bank holiday", I say. Patrick says, "Yes. Bob called. The island's on fire. The two buildings next to the bakery are potentially destroyed, not sure about the bakery yet, but I'm sure we'll find out at some point. Wanna order some pizza?"
Anges de Sucre Bakery is the building on the left. Our neighbour is Bob, the artist. I think the cakes and the paintings are ok. I'll only find out tomorrow. Photo by Robert John Gonella.
Our bakery is on a remote island on the river Thames in Hampton. On a beautiful day, it's possibly the most beautiful spot in all of London, I'd even say the world, to work in. But yesterday, seeing photos of it engulfed in flames made it look like the scariest place.
By a stroke of luck, we weren't there. The fire broke out around 17:15. Due to it being a bank holiday it was quieter than usual. There were more than a 100 fire fighters that were called on to the scene to put the flames out and it took them more than three hours to do so. It wasn't an easy job for them as there is no direct access by vehicle to the bakery site. The fire fighters would've had to carry all their equipment over the bridge on foot! If I thought we had it hard taking our cakes across, I don't even want to imagine what it was like for them under that pressure.
Two of the buildings destroyed were unoccupied warehouses. However, one of them is rented by a boat maker who lost his stuff and the boats he was working on in the fire. Also, the buildings are all of great historical significance and Grade 2 listed.
Our building was built in the 1800s. I'm incredibly relieved that the London Fire Brigade were able to save it. And luckily, there weren't any serious injuries reported. Towards the end of their rescue mission, around 22:00, our CCTV picked up footage of the fire fighters resting in our bakery. I tried to tell them over the speakers that they could help themselves to all the cake. If anyone deserved free cake, it was them! We even tried to play Billy Joel's "We didn't start the fire" over Spotify remotely but I think our wifi was struggling!
It's going to be some challenging days ahead as I head back into the bakery tomorrow. Our orders shouldn't be massively affected but if anyone's orders are I will be sure to update ASAP.
Thank you for your well wishes. Please don't play with fire.
Lots of love,
PS: we ordered pizza for dinner. I woke up at 03:22 feeling very unwell. Not sure if it was the pizza, or the stress. Possibly both. I'm okay now. As you were.