More Light than Heat

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.

12 Responses to More Light than Heat

  1. Dom says:

    From memory when your other half sits in front of the fire they soak up all the heat and block it for everyone else. Nice as they are I don’t miss having an open fire 🙂

  2. disgruntled says:

    This may explain why my other half retreated to his study for the evening.

  3. GOM1 says:

    Have you tried toasting crumpets on a fork yet?

  4. disgruntled says:

    No! must get some crumpets pronto. And a proper toasting fork

  5. Flighty says:

    What fun! My memories of an open fire are dad toasting his bread to a cinder and the cat seeing how close it could get without singeing it’s fur. xx

  6. 2whls3spds says:

    Ahhh…the joys of poor fireplace design 😉 I had a house…once with a wonder fireplace of the Rumford design. It did an excellent job of keeping the main room of the house quite toasty when it was burning.


  7. Stormfilled says:

    I love open fires! My mum has always had a proper fire and I was the one guilty of sitting right in front of it until my jumper steamed. I used to sit with my feet up on the fender and bake my toes. I remember standing up once and my shoes melting into the carpet. Mum now has a hearth rug, as I still do it in my late twenties…

  8. Autolycus says:

    Don’t remind me…. the dreaded dash down freezing stairs to the cellar to refill the coal scuttle, the even more dreaded calculations as to how long one can hold out against having to go to an equally freezing bathroom, the endless re-arranging of screens to avoid the worst of the draughts, my mother grumps at cleaning out the ashes in the morning. And the chilblains. Don’t forget the chilblains.

  9. disgruntled says:

    It seems fires are lovely, unless you’re actually using them to keep warm…

  10. Ross Angus says:

    I think I’ve used that chimney sweep before. He wasn’t a happy man.

  11. pog says:

    Hmm. Open fires at my sisters’ places up norf give off loads of heat. I have no idea why yours doesn’t – v odd.

  12. disgruntled says:

    Ross – it’s not as though we were sending him up the chimney
    Pog – I suspect it’s because we’re soft southern bastards who are doing it wrong. That’s usually the case up here.

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