There are some stories that language prevents the telling thereof. It’s not naughty words; it’s words for common things that are used in one country and not in another. Sometimes a reader in some distant land will think a story involves butterfly caterpillars when in fact it’s about tractors.
Such was the case when Delphine’s hot water cylinder exploded. A hot water cylinder is variously known as a hot water storage tank, a hot water tank, a thermal storage tank, a hot water thermal storage unit, a heat storage tank, and possibly by a dozen other names.
Anyway, Delphine’s hot water cylinder exploded and what a mess it caused!
When Delphine had purchased her house a good forty years earlier the house was already ancient. Goodness knows how old the hot water cylinder was. Friends had said for her to change it because it was old, it lost heat, and it was highly inefficient. Delphine pointed out that the hot water cylinder’s cupboard was perfectly wonderful for airing damp clothes and for keeping laundry dry. It’s why it was called a hot water laundry cupboard or airing cupboard silly.
Now it had exploded and what a mess it had caused. First it went thump thumb thump. Delphine pricked up her ears. What was that noise? The thumping got lounder. Delphine went to investigate. That’s when things exploded and what a mess it caused.
The funeral for Delphine’s remaining bits is next Wednesday.
Colin always walked gingerly through his garden. Years ago (in fact it was getting on for a century ago) the site of his house and garden was an old munitions storage during the war. Colin always imagined that one day he’d step on a mine or something and be blown to smithereens.
Naturally the site had been cleared by professionals a long time prior to his even buying the land and building a house. But the thought didn’t go away. In fact, the old man who ran the local knick-knack shop told Colin that he didn’t reckon the land had been cleared properly. There were old mines scattered all over everywhere just like this one. And he showed Colin a real live mine that he had found and kept high on a shelf out of reach in his store.
Life trundled on. Colin’s wife thought Colin was silly. “Why walk gingerly through your garden when you know it’s cleared of mines? It’s time you grew up and got over this childish nonsense.”
Anyway, Colin got tired of the constant nagging. Which is why the mine kept high on a shelf in the knick-knack store came in handy.
Herb had been sent home from school for swearing at a teacher. They’d phoned his father, and his father had said “What the … Where did he learn that from?” Herb started walking home. Then he noticed something he’d never seen before. There was a sign as he walked past the gas works:
NO SMOKING. DANGER OF EXPLOSION.
Herb lit a cigarette and threw it over the fence. He carried on walking. That should teach the town a lesson.