Lately …

lighting a fire

Lately, well, immediately post-Christmas, I was in the UK staying with my very good and old (in the known for a long time sense) friends A & B and their three beautiful and clever daughters one of whom I feel privileged to be godmother to, and I mustn’t forget the final member of the household the aptly named Bella the friendly family dog. There are no pictures or posts from my trip because I was too busy having a wonderful time: said time was a magical mix of some lovely things to do and relaxing interludes.

Lately I have become an ace fire maker, well at least by my lights (pun not intended), I have. Back in the day when I was one half of a Mr & Mrs combination Mr was in charge of domestic pyromania and I regarded the process which led to roaring fires appearing in the grate as akin to Hogwarthian wizardry. Then post my Mr & Mrs days I moved to a modern well insulated apartment and had no need of an open fire. Last year I moved to a house, which I love, but it has wafer thin insulation and decades old dodgy (in the not throwing out a lot of heat sense) storage heaters. The only way to stay warm this winter was to light the open fire and I am now insanely proud that I can do so. I discovered there are no mystic rules but that the secret lay in the setting of the fire. Provided I had made a heap, in the correct proportions, of: crumpled-to-the-right-degree newspaper, layers of kindling (sticks) crisscrossed like hashtags, some firelighters, and a few kiln dried logs, it worked. Mind you, as a few holes burnt in the carpet and many hours spent watching grey smoke, instead of bright flame, billow up the chimney attest, it did take me a few months to get it right.

Lately I have thought I might write some shorter posts with a view to trying to post slightly more often on JAA. It’s an experiment so I’ll see how it goes …


Filed under Musings

38 responses to “Lately …

  1. You’ve got it, there’s no special secret to building a fire. It’s always the same procedure. So glad you’re warm!

  2. So nice that you were able to visit with your friends in London and see your God Child. Well I for one am very impressed that you can build and sustain a fire in your fireplace. There is an art to doing it and the fact that you have mastered the layering and all is impressive. Good for you, one day would love to see photo’s of your home. I have pictures in my mind of how it looks, everything is rustic and charming and gorgeous in Ireland,

    • Thank you so much.

      It was really lovely to see my friends and their children over the Christmas period. I had such a lovely time when I visited them.

      I am pleased I managed to master the art of fire-making although ultimately I would love to get a stove so that most of the heat wasn’t escaping up the chimney.

      I hope to post some before and after pictures when I do some work to my house. The house is only about twenty five years old and it doesn’t fit into the rustic and charming category but I love it a lot as it suits me perfectly despite being quite small. πŸ˜‰

  3. Short and sweet, I love it! I will admit to letting the Mr. deal with most of the fire making in our relationship. However, I love that you have tackled the process and with great success! I should take your ambition as an example! πŸ™‚

    • Heather I hope you have not been too badly effected by the recent spate of extreme wintry weather which hit the USA.

      I am pleased I learnt to light a fire, I love looking at it burning in the grate in the evening but I don’t love so much the task of cleaning it out the following morning. πŸ˜‰

  4. B., I think it’s a great idea! I look forward to reading “you” more often! πŸ™‚
    I can really relate. Our house is very old and with the freezing weather we have been having lately, a fire is a nice way to keep us warm. I have no idea how to make one, though! So when Stefano is not around, I just do without it. I’m too lazy! Nothing to be proud of! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Francesca, I hope you were safe and warm during the recent awful weather hitting the east coast of the USA. Although my house isn’t very old (built about twenty-five years ago) it has many draughts rattling through it, so the open fire is a welcome back-up to the not very efficient storage heaters.

      Necessity being the mother of invention and all that I am sure if I hadn’t had to I would never had learnt how to light a fire! B xx

  5. I too, have become good at lighting fires. Who would have thought it could be so difficult? I have a fire going every day a Casa Debbio. It is the first thing I do every morning.

  6. I would be proud, too! I have no fire-lighting skills at all, yet it was once something that most women could do with ease. I remember my grandmother setting the fireplace and cleaning it and chopping the wood, as well.

    • I agree – fire-lighting skills are a bit of a lost ‘art’, so I am pleased that I have managed to master them. I am not sure that I would want to chop the wood as well! πŸ˜‰

      • No, I wouldn’t want to chop wood but it would be fun to know how to do it well. By the way, does your council/government offer incentives or grants to insulate homes? We have programmes like this in New Zealand. It is a big problem here; poorly insulated homes.

      • Yes, there are grants for improving insulation, which I think is a very good thing from an energy saving point of view. I will get mine improved as part of the work I intend to get done on my house. I hope to get it done all in one go – I just need to finalize what’s a definite on my to-do list.

      • Better to do everything at once if possible. Your house sounds like a charmer though.

      • To me it’s a charmer and I love it, althought I know objectively speaking it’s very ordinary!

  7. Lovely post and image, B! I’m improving too, I love to sit in front of the roaring fire. We hope you keep warm!
    Greetings from the four of us in Cley

    • *Waving* to the four of you in Cley.

      There’s something special about a roaring log fire over and above its warming properties. Hope you are all warm and safe during the bad weather hitting the UK.

      B xx

  8. Surreycousin

    Fire starting!! Now, it is not the safest and Mother freaked at the idea that this method was applied by self on return from school, but don’t forget the magic effect of holding a broadsheet newspaper (if you can find one these days) over the front of the fireplace once fire is lit to make it draw. I take no responsibility for any instances of self immolation as a result of this suggestion! Sugar works as well!!

  9. It’s a skill – one you can now mark off your bucket list.

  10. Way to go, B: personally I think there are few better things than a nice, warm open fire on a winter night – and this is regardless of the insulation of the house! πŸ™‚
    Hope you are having a wonderful weekend

    • I agree totally Stefano, even in a perfectly insulated and draught-free house nothing beats an open fire on nights when the wind is howling and rain is battering the window.

      Thanks I had a good weekend and I hope you did too. πŸ˜‰

      • Precisely! And fire is so beautiful to watch, with its ever changing shapes and hues. Clearly, the picture not is really complete unless you sip a nice Scotch or Rhum while comfortably sitting by the fireplace! πŸ™‚

      • That sounds very good to me, even though I don’t drink Rhum or Scotch, or even, would you believe, Irish whiskey! I much prefer the grape to the grain. πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

      • I would have bet money on the fact that you would have liked at least some Irish Whiskey! I was wrong πŸ™‚
        On my end, I do not discriminate: beer, wine, liquor, anything with alcohol in it! πŸ™‚ Or actually, the only thing I discriminate against is Gin. I have tried to like it, but has never won my… palate over. I am not losing any sleep over it, though. πŸ˜‰
        Back to the fireplace thing, you can sure replace the Scotch with a nice glass of aged red: works just as beautifully! πŸ™‚

      • I don’t know why I don’t drink spirits any more, I just know that I don’t, although I did when I was younger. Maybe I am simply out to the habit of doing so.The only exception being the very occasional, and that might be once every few years, Irish coffee.

        I hope your open fire and contemplating it while sipping a glass of Scotch was an antidote to the recent bad weather. πŸ˜‰

      • Oooh, I like Irish coffee! πŸ™‚ And yes, the Scotch by the fireplace definitely helped warm up those frigid days πŸ™‚
        Have a great week, dear B.

      • Thanks Stefano, you too. πŸ˜‰

  11. This is a good post for the winter months – I feel warmer already!

  12. We bought a wood burner a couple of years ago and I love nothing more than warming my toes. Mister is in charge of log management…. πŸ™‚

  13. Good thing you have this comfort in the chilly season. So pretty, and so welcome.

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