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When I saw Clark’s profile picture online I thought to myself, Mmm, he looks right up my street. He was tall, well-built with mousy brown hair. “Cute,” I said to myself. “Very cute.” But when I saw that he had three kids from a previous relationship, I stopped in my tracks. “Tall? Tick. Well built? Tick. Kids? Three? Not on your life.”


Exploding pressure cooker burns man with boiling stew
Exploding pressure cooker burns man with boiling stew
Exploding pressure cooker burns man with boiling stew

I was looking for a relationship that we could build ourselves. The last thing I wanted was a ready-made family. So with a sigh, I sadly clicked off Clark’s profile and made a cup of tea. A few days later, bored, I sat at the computer and logged on to the dating site. Clark’s picture flashed up again, and I thought to myself, ‘you can’t win them all, Vicky.’


I sent him a quick message and we soon started chatting. Clark was funny, kind and generous. We agreed to meet up a couple of weeks later and played mini golf. We hit it off straight away. He lived in Portsmouth and I lived in Southampton, but after a few dates, we got on so well, Clark came to live with me in Southampton.


After a while we moved to Wiltshire and shared a house with one of my friends. It wasn’t long after we moved in together that I started noticing how accident prone Clark could be. I popped into the garden to do a spot of weeding and went to the shed to grab some of my tools. “What’s happened to my spade, Clark? “Umm, it just snapped in two,” he replied bashfully. I rummaged around and noticed that my lawnmower had seen better days. “Right,” I said. “From now on, you’re under supervision whenever you come out here,” I scolded. “You just can’t be trusted.”


He grinned sheepishly and then gave me a hug to apologise. I couldn’t be angry at him for very long. It was a telling however off that would come back to haunt not me, but him, with a boiling hot smack in the face. A month or two later, I arrived home from a long day at work with cold hands and a rumbling belly. “Shall I make a casserole?” I said shivering. “It’s freezing out there and we can make a large pot of it to warm, ourselves up and have some left over for tomorrow then.” “Sounds like a plan,” he agreed.


After borrowing a pot big enough for the stew from my flat mate, we pottered around the kitchen together chatting about our day and preparing the stock. My flat mate only had one pot big enough – a pressure cooker, so without putting the lid on, I left it to simmer over a hot stove and went to put my feet up. “Can’t wait for dinner,” I said, as I plonked my tired bum on the sofa.


Clark smiled at me and sat down next to me. “You leave it to me,” he said patting me on the knee. “I’ll take it from here. You just relax.” He is such a lovely man. I’ve been so lucky to have found someone who loves taking care of me. There’s never a morning that goes by when I wake up without a cup of tea on my bedside table. They say the little things in life count, and the amount that Clark treats me, they’ve added up to something wonderful.


He disappeared into the kitchen and I heard a clanging of pots and pans. I wondered what he was up to and assumed he must have just been getting the plates ready. After a few minutes he came back in with a smile on his face and a glint in his eye. “What are you up to?” I said suspiciously. “It’s nothing for you to worry about, babe. It’s all taken care of.” Laughing, I turned back to the TV and let him carry on.


An hour or so later he popped out again. This time, it went quiet in the kitchen and I listened intently to see if I could hear what he was up to. Suddenly, I heard an almighty POP. It was followed by what I can only describe as a YELP. I can’t remember ever moving so fast as I raced into the kitchen to see what had happened. I burst through the door and saw Clark standing there in shock.


Before I could say anything I noticed the chicken casserole was no longer in the pot, but all over the floor, the wall, and even the ceiling. Then I turned to Clark and got the shock of my life when I saw him covered, from head to toe, in the boiling hot stew. “What the hell happened?” I screamed. Before he could answer, I realised that he was in pain. The boiling hot chicken casserole had him in a right stew.


I screamed for my flatmate to bring a wet towel and I grabbed Clark by his casserole free arm, and dragged him into the bathroom and stuck his hands in the sink. My flat mate came in with a wet towel and I wrapped it around his head. “What did you do, Clark? How did this happen?” I said. “I just took the lid off,” he said, through gritted teeth. “That was it. That’s all I did.” “What lid? Why was there a lid on it?” I put the lid on it, the one that was on the counter. I thought I was helping. But then I couldn’t get it off…”


I knew immediately what he had done.


Clumsy Clark had put the lid on the pressure cooker, sealing the casserole inside to bubble and boil away. Usually, they take a good twenty minutes to cool down before you can remove the lid, but ham-fisted Clark had prized it off with his bare hands. The pressure inside had caused the lid to blast off, straight into his head, spraying the contents of the casserole all over him and the rest of the kitchen.


“How on earth did you get it off?” I asked making sure the bandage on his head was secure. “I just gave it a right yank,” he said. My flatmate had phoned for an ambulance, and they arrived only five minutes later. As female paramedic began to properly dress his wounds, I told her what had happened. “Typical men,” she said. “They’re always interfering.” I looked at Clark accusingly, but with a soft smile. “See?” I said. “I’m sorry. I’ve ruined dinner haven’t I?” he said. “Let’s not worry about that right now, OK? Let’s get you to hospital.”


In the emergency room, after they had taken his bandages off to dress them again, and cover his hands in cooling gel, it became obvious just how badly he had been burnt. The top of his head swelled up like a bad case of sun burn. Then it started to bubble with a hundred mini blisters. Pretty soon they had all come together to form one humongous blister that covered the whole of his forehead. Because it was so big, nurses burst it, but it kept refilling with fluid, so they kept having to pop it. “Oh my baby,” I said rubbing his back. “It’ll be all right. They’ll fix you.” But all Clark could think about was the ruined casserole. “I’m so sorry babes. I should’ve just left to you. I’ve ruined our nice night in now.”


It goes to show, that despite the horrific burns he had on his face and hands, and the immense pain he was in, he was just thinking about me. “You’re so sweet,” I whispered. His hands were burned badly too and they dressed him from head to toe – he looked like a mummy when they had finished with him.


“You’re a very lucky man, Mr Bailey,” said the doctor. “If you hadn’t been wearing glasses, you might easily have lost your sight.” We just looked at each other relieved and headed out to the car to make our way home. By the time we got back to the flat, Clark’s head was leaking. From beneath the bandages, a sticky green puss was dripping down his face and into his eyes. “Ewwww,” Clark said. “This is gross!” We headed back to A&E where they redressed his burns and put extra bandages on, and then sent us home again.


Back at the flat, the first thing Clark did was head into the kitchen, to check on the casserole. “Maybe there’s enough left to salvage a meal out of,” he said hopefully. “Forget it, Clark,” I said. “We’ll get a takeaway.” But my flatmate had kindly cleaned up after Clark’s accident and saved some of the casserole and put it in the fridge. After heating it up IN THE MICROWAVE we sat down at the kitchen table and tucked in. After putting a spoonful in his mouth, Clark’s eyes opened wide and he started blowing out of his mouth. “Hot, hot, hot,” he said frantically. “What are you like?” I said laughing.



Clark admitted the potentially deadly accident was his “own silly fault”.

He said: “I was trying to be helpful with the cooking – but really I was interfering.

“I didn’t realise that Vicky was using a pressure cooker. I checked how the casserole was cooking and put the lid on it.

“When I went back to it to check it 20 minutes later I struggled to pull the lid off. I gave it a really good tug and the lid flew off and hit me on the head.

“I don’t really remember the pain of the burns as I was in so much shock. I was so worried that I had ruined dinner, apparently that is all I kept saying.

“Vicky wrapped my head in wet towels and I ran my hands under a tap until the paramedics arrived.

“I didn’t scream. I yelped like a dog does when someone stands on it. I was laughing and joking in the ambulance as I could appreciate the funny side.

“I had food in my hair for two weeks as I was not allowed to get my dressings wet so I couldn’t have a shower.

“I regret not leaving Vicky to it with the cooking. It was my own silly fault. But it could have been a lot worse.

“Luckily I had my glasses on otherwise I could have lost my sight.”



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