THERE is never a dull moment when you live on the coast and last Saturday evening was no exception.
The wife and I had just settled down for the evening to watch a bit of wartime drama on television when we noticed a lot of flashing lights through the blinds.
Before we could say Foyle’s War the road outside was crawling with ambulances, paramedics, fire engines, dozens of firefighters, all donned in safety jackets and yellow safety hats.
Yes, you’re right... There was more drama outside than inside.
They had the road – Barrack Lane – blocked and cordoned off over a stretch of 400 yards, almost to Coastguards Parade, and, to be truthful, the scene could easily have been mistaken for a blockbuster Hollywood disaster movie.
The entire stretch of road was lit up like Blackpool illuminations, traffic diverted and firemen were everywhere, even out of the bushes... They were power-flushing fresh water down the drains, scurrying back and forth, standing in huddles, shouting instructions, digging out resuscitation rescue apparatus and doing everything the service does in a major emergency call out exercise.
When, eventually, we summoned up the courage to venture out of the house and down to the bottom of the drive I was greeted by a poker-faced, nervous fireman who looked at me as though I’d just wandered off limits or into no man’s land.
“I think it would be better if you went back inside, sir,” he barked.
“What’s going on?” I replied “Where’s the fire?”
“We have a chemical leakage in the nursing home,” he replied. “You’d better go back indoors.”
The panic, for want of a better word, started at around 9.30pm – shortly after Foyle’s War started – and was still going on at 2am or 2.30am, long after Inspector Foyle and yours truly had retired for the night.
Whatever the chemicals were, they must have been lethal enough to warrant half the West Sussex fire service arriving on the premises.
We were all kept completely in the dark.
What were the chemicals? Definitely not CILLITT BANG!
Barrack Lane, Aldwick