The Fire Extinguisher:
by John McNamee
Portmarnock, early 80s

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I remember one evening, many moons ago, I was sitting in Brian and Lek’s front room just shooting the breeze as they say.

Brian and myself were chatting away and were probably working out how to solve the world’s major problems.  Cyril was there as well.  He was only a ‘chizler’ at the time – probably about four or five years old. 

Even though he was only a little man at the time, he commanded Brian’s full attention with his playful antics and pranks, and Brian had his hands full keeping control of this bundle of energy and fun.  I’m afraid Brian realised that it was useless trying to suppress his antics so he adopted a policy of containment in the circumstances.  It was probably winter time and Lek had a lovely cosy log fire on in the room. Having served up a lovely Thai meal, Lek went out to visit some friends.  Soon Cyril’s handstands, headstands and somersaults were beginning to spook Brian and he was afraid that Cyril might cartwheel himself all the way into the burning embers.  After warning Cyril many times about the dangers of somersaulting so close to an open fire, Brian finally cracked and – horror of horrors! – threatened Cyril with an early night to bed.

Cyril was having none of this!    He was on a roll and he was not prepared to let some stupid old log fire spoil his fun.   He decided to take matters into his own hands.   He waited until Brian was distracted when he decided to strike.   Before we knew it, and to the sound of hissing, the room was filled with a large plume of smoke.   

Mischievious Cyril

The fire was out!   Quenched by Cyril!

We were left gasping and rushed towards the window for air.  When the smoke cleared and we got our breath back all we could do was laugh.  

Now you might wonder just how did  Cyril put the out the fire.  Well, he didn’t use a jug of water or a pot of tea, and he didn’t use a fire extinguisher.   Suffice to say Cyril didn’t have to use the little boys’ room before he was ushered off quickly to bed that evening.

That episode has always stuck in my mind, and now and again over the years myself and Brian had a laugh about it.  I suppose it showed the energy and independent spirit of Cyril.  This of course manifested itself as he grew up, and especially in his many travels all over the world.

The world that Cyril travelled in is a poorer place without him, but he left behind many many wonderful memories.  

how to put out a fire

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