I was so not up for going out conservation volunteering this morning. What with one thing and another, I haven’t been for more than a month and when I had to drag myself out of bed long before dawn – and brave the shower before the heating had had a chance to get going – I did wonder exactly why I had ever thought this was a good idea. I set off with the sun barely struggling over the hills and the Met Office’s promised (why? Why do I believe them? Why? It’s not as though they haven’t got a 100% track record of utter wrongness to date) partly sunny skies had proved on closer inspection to be lowering mizzle. 10 miles of cycling in a keen east wind did not promise good things.
I’d like to go on to say that the hard work was its own reward and that the satisfaction of a job well done was what changed my mind as I pedalled homewards, weary but happy. But actually, the real reason why I ended up having a fantastic day was that I was put in charge of the bonfire. A whole morning spent setting fire to things and then poking them? There can be no finer way to spend a damp January Tuesday on the beach. I had a pitchfork, too. Go on, admit it, you’re jealous.
Worryingly, though, I discovered today that I was considered something of a bonfire expert, for reasons which escape me. Fortunately my fire-starting weaknesses remained undiscovered (something to do with lighting a bonfire of gorse using kindling made out of old creosoted telegraph poles) and, hopefully never will be, or at least not until the weather gets a little warmer.