You may have noticed that DM and I are both obsessed by our fires. This is because our remote home is cold and we only have access to heat either through our frighteningly expensive oil fired central heating or via our fireplace. We are a pair of old hippies with a fundamental problem with fossil fuels so we try to stay warm using our fire fuelled with wood. We’ve rigged it up to heat our hot water too so if we can get a really good blaze we know that we will be warm and we’ll have piping hot water for our showers as well.
The truth is though that it’s all a bit hit and miss – the hotties are fab in as much as when you get them going, they roar away, burning really hot BUT they are buggers to get going. We’ve resorted to using a blow torch to get them going on a couple of occasions. You see, everything else combustible in these parts is wet. Most of it is also frozen. Both of these things mean that using wet and or frozen stuff for kindling is depressingly difficult.
We sit, for what feels like hours in front of the fire trying to get it going with our bellows. They don’t have much effect. As you’ll notice, their mock leather is perished and holey. So we decided we needed a new pair. Have you seen how expensive they are????? Many of the cheaper ones say they are for ornamental use only and not to use them in anger on the fire. After a lot of searching, we found a pair that were made from real wood and equally real leather that cost less than £50….just! We scraped up the dosh to buy them and they arrived yesterday.
We did a test of puffability. DM stood in front of me while I puffed these ones and he could barely feel any draft. He then stood in front of me while I puffed with the new ones. He was nearly blown away. He kept stepping backwards and eventually, when he was 10-12 feet away from me he declared that the puff at that distance was equivalent to the puff from 1 foot from these. Hopefully that’ll make a real difference to our ability to set the fire alight.
A few weeks ago we were in the pub and one of our neighbours excitedly rushed over saying “there is someone you need to meet”. She introduced us to an ex-owner of our house who told us, among other things, that her and her husband had taken the central heating out of our house and left only the fireplaces for warmth. Although we can see why from an environmental point of view, we think it was a brave and foolish measure from the point of view of staying warm and it goes some way to explaining the rather strange plumbing that was in the house when we arrived!