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playing with fire

October 28, 2007

Fireplace.JPGSunday afternoon. The clocks have gone back and it’s crisp and cold outside, the air scented with the smell of wood smoke. Mathilde drops by with an enormous pumpkin-like object from her garden. Otherwise, I spend most of the afternoon lying by the fire with my laptop.

It’s almost a year since the wood burner was installed, transforming the sitting room from empty shell [left] to cosy salon in one fell swoop. The novelty of it all has yet to wear off: the challenge of making the flames take and then the satisfaction of feeding the fire, poking it and rearranging the burning logs. In this way, I can keep myself entertained for hours. Shortly after it was installed, I would lie, night after night, in complete darkness - all the better to watch the flames dance. (Yes, I know I really should get out more!)

But there are certain less attractive truths about log fires that are not immediately apparent. The first is the amount of paraphernalia involved. In magazine pictures, log fires are invariably shown with a neat, symmetrical, stack of logs on either side. In fact you also need boxes of matches and firelighters, piles of old newspapers, two different sizes of logs and a large stack of kindling to get the thing going. Then there is the huge amount of dust and the daily cleaning out of the ashes, down on your knees with a dustpan and brush (just like Ruby in Upstairs Downstairs but without the frilled cap).

On the bright side, cleaning the soot off the glass door is better than Pilates for keeping bingo wings at bay, while ferrying in logs from the wood pile constitutes an excellent upper arm workout [as does stacking a delivery of two cordes of wood.] A frosty, cold winter? I really hope so.

comments (10)

1. Posted by sandara on October 29, 2007 11:29 AM

Oh me too! I love cold winters. makes you feel that all is right with the world and its weather patterns.

2. Posted by Noel on October 29, 2007 12:02 PM

I'll remember this tip when someone asks how to get rid of their Bingo Wings! Thanks.

3. Posted by Dave B on October 29, 2007 2:41 PM

Interesting that all it takes is a few flames to keep you entertained!

4. Posted by tippitybit on October 29, 2007 4:56 PM

Playing around with burning logs? Sounds suspiciously like pyromaniac tendencies to me mimi.

5. Posted by Susie on October 30, 2007 1:47 PM

I'm with you, Mimi.

Well worth all the effort, mess and dry skin to watch the flames a'jumping. :-)

6. Posted by mimi pompom on October 30, 2007 1:53 PM

Oh yes, I forgot to mention the dry skin and the fact it sucks every last drop of moisture from the air, turning your sitting room into the equivalent of the Sahara desert. Thanks for reminding me Susie. But as you say, it's still worth it!

7. Posted by elsa on October 30, 2007 5:57 PM

I see you have been busy with the tester pots Mimi. But why haven't you shown us a more up-to-date picture of your fireplace - one with the woodburner in question?

8. Posted by Eagle Wings on October 30, 2007 6:01 PM

Now enlightened about the term "bingo wings" by a mutual source :-)

9. Posted by mimi pompom on October 31, 2007 1:14 PM

Dear Eagle Wings,

yes indeed. Bingo wings - upper arms in need of some toning for anyone equally mystified - are to be avoided at all costs. ;-)


10. Posted by mimi pompom on October 31, 2007 1:15 PM

Dear Elsa,

updated picture coming soon,


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