It’s October. Still fairly mild at around 8ºC but we’re occasionally firing up the wood-burner to help warm the living area. And as getting the wood into the house is a complete pain in the arse, we bring in as much as we can be arsed to before we really need it so on those days when you’re sick or tired or sick AND tired then you don’t have to go out to get it.
For those of us who had a romantic vision of stacking firewood inside the house in artistic arrangements like so . . .
. . . your dreams are quickly shattered when you realise the reality is that’s actually bugger-all wood and will last sod-all and you’ll be spending all your time re-stocking and then sweeping up afterwards because wood sheds. It’s messy stuff. Sure you’ll invest in a funky and seemingly appropriate metal tub that looks fabulous when filled and all the wood is artistically stacked and you’ll use it and give yourself a warm little hug at how cosy you’ve made it all look.
But it doesn’t last.
Before you know it you’ll be sick of having bits of wood and dust and lichen scattered everywhere and end up using really ugly plastic bags like those from Ikea which are cleaner and more convenient and you’ll save your display woodpile for visitors who will ooh and aah in
jealously admiration unless they’re your friends who are so completely onto you because they know you’re an apathetic sod.
But to get the wood . . .
The Hub cuts the wood from friends’ properties and then hauls it home. We store it for drying at the top of the outhouse which means that in order to get some you have to climb up these rickety, broken, narrow, steep and dimly-lit stairs to bring down 2 large and heavy bags of wood that you then have to carry around the house on iced paths. I would pray for snow so that at least I had something soft to fall into when I lost my footing. Then you have to take the bags up another, more civilised flight of stairs which, by that point, might as well be Mt bloody Everest. It is exhausting and those 2 bags will last 2 days. Maybe.
But then the genius Hub built a chute that we now use to send the wood downstairs when the woodpile is empty and we now have a back door so the icy paths can no longer bite my lily-white bottom. And which means we can now bring more wood in with fewer trips and fewer heart attacks.
So as of this morning our indoor cup-of-wood runneth over. We can come down with ebola or bubonic plague secure in the knowledge that we’ll die warm and toasty. If we survive then it’s just a matter of remembering to take out the empties and keep on top of it in readiness for the next epidemic, episode of shitty weather or near-fatal case of can’t-be-arsed.
I love my fireplace, especially when the power goes out and it’s warm and quiet and all you can hear is the crackle of wood burning and the wind whistling through the trees outside but God it’s hard work!