Dad had one of his bright ideas. The idea wasn’t original, but it was for Dad – he didn’t have bright ideas very often! Off to the local library he went. Back he came with an Aunt Daisy soap-making recipe. As proud as a peacock at a garden party, he said he was going to show us how to make soap, and in the process show us how clever he was.
Off to the kitchen he went. That was strange enough in itself – to see Dad clanging pots and pans was a real sight. We peeped through the outside window. Dad pretended not to notice us.
Into one of Mum’s biggest pots he put some rendered animal fat he had collected from home kills. Before too long the fat was at a boil. Things appeared to be going quite well, and judging by the smirk on Dad’s face we could tell he thought he had it sussed – that is until he added caustic soda and Lux flakes to the broth. The boiling solution immediately expanded in size and frothed up and up and over the pot. “Bloody hell,” said Dad. We crept lower behind the windowsill.
Unfortunately for Dad the frothing solution kept growing; onto the stove it erupted, the molten solution flowing along the bench, into some drawers, and onto the floor.
“Bloody hell!” said dad again, but this time we could tell he really meant it. Us kids looked at each other, realising lives were at risk – our lives. It was one of those situations – being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Right at this moment Dad panicked. He grabbed the overflowing pot and took the shortest route to the nearest exit, crashing over and through furniture in the process. As he burst through an open door he heaved the still foaming pot onto the front lawn. It is fair to say that we were keeping a low profile.
Back into the house dad stormed. “That bloody Aunt Daisy!” he said as he disappeared back into the kitchen. We beat a hasty retreat to a neighbour’s place. It was some hours later before we dared go near the house again. By then things had returned to their normal state – at least as normal as things could be. No one ever said anything about Dad’s soap making idea, and Dad never tried to make soap again.