The bins she was referring to sit unattractively to the left of our front window. Due to the increased size of todays' waste bins, the excessive rubbish produced by an average family, and the fact that there are three families that occupy our building, we have three large brown plastic bins for organic garden waste, three large blue plastic bins for recyclables, and five large green plastic bins for other rubbish - scratch that - we HAD five large green plastic bins for other rubbish.
"Chris, the bins are on fire!!!"
There's pretty much only one response to that phrase, "WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT??? WHAT BINS?!?!?"
"The green bins. They're on fire," Jasheen repeated.
What followed was a realtime report of what was happening, from dialing 999 (Emergency), to attempting to douse the 6' flames with a bucket of water (which seemed only to make the blaze spit sparks in all directions), to a description of the trail the fire was blazing, to the arrival of the hunky firemen who finally conquered the inferno.
We were left with a hunk of molten plastic, ash and charred debris. Remember the Simpson's episode when Bart accidently burned down their Christmas tree and all their presents, and then buried the evidence in the snow? Well, our bins look like that; one solid piece of melted gunk.
It's oddly funny, actually. On Saturday we woke to discover that our boiler wasn't working properly and we could not heat our flat - it's winter here and the temperature outside is literally freezing. Being an old, drafty structure, our flat gets really cold really fast if there is no heat. We spent most of the entire day in the lounge with a space heater while the rest of the flat was a meat locker. Needless to say, it was challenging to have a good attitude... especially since we've all been sick.
So we watched TV... and what did we watch? Extreme Makeover: Home Edition - that show where a disadvantaged family goes from a shack to a mansion in a massive exhibition of compassion, goodwill and free advertising. It really helped put things in perspective, and by the end of the fourth episode - yeah, it was on back-to-back all day long - we were very grateful for our freezing, drafty, old flat.
Our gratefulness extended through Sunday as we thanked God for the couple who came knocking on our door to tell us that the bins were on fire right next to our living room window. Who knows how bad it could have been if no one was home to call 999?