Much excitment here – we had the chimney swept on Tuesday (by the world’s least contented – yet strangely cheerful – chimney sweep; motto ‘if I never sweep another chimney it will be too soon’). So last night, it being cold, we lit our first fire. I had forgotten what hours of entertainment an open fire provides what with having to prepare the grate, fetch the wood and other bits from the shed, find the firelighters, make all the little scrunched up newspaper balls, lay the fire, light it, watch it go out, blow on it, light it again, do the thing with holding the newspaper up in front of the fireplace to get it going, watch it go out again, take it apart and re lay it, light it, get it going properly this time, poke it, fiddle with it, almost put it out again rearranging it to make it look more aesthetic, add more wood to it, take some off again, and then, when it’s really going, just staring into it. Who needs the television with all that going on? It’s like having a new pet.
What I had also forgotten was that open fires don’t really give off all that much heat. I’d love a wood-burning stove, but it’s not really practical in a rented cottage. Still, it did enough to keep the heating off for one more evening, and that’s got to be worth something at least. And it proved, if nothing else, that I am easily amused.