This week, lots of wood. Branches, logs, sticks, twigs. Much woodness going on.
We have just one wee stove at Shoogly Towers, which regularly draws a crowd when it’s lit and blazing.
We have oil for our main heating, so this wee fella is just a handy back-up, to light on chilly afternoons when we’re too tight to put the proper heating on, or when there’s a power cut.
Boy, there’s nothing like a stove for an instant audience. As soon as the first flames appear, so do the first family members.
Must be something primordial in all of us – man sit by big fire after hunt, roast animal. That kinda thingy.
Then there’s the need to sit so close that it burns our cheeks and make our eyeballs so dry that they almost fry. Man, we just love fires, open or closed.
My late mum-in-law loved the film Barefoot in the Park, with Jane Fonda and Robert Redford. Jane has great hair in it ... that’s not why she liked it, but it is why I like it, and why I suspect the Young Mistress likes it. Big, bouncy, long 1960s tresses.
If you’re not familiar with it, here’s a brief run-down. As it was originally written as a play, most of the action takes place in the newly-weds’ (tiny, top-floor, grimy) rented apartment. Ms Fonda takes great delight in emptying the contents of her basket – a bunch of flowers and two or three large logs. She hastily plonks the flowers in a jug atop the stove, and then pushes the logs (which are waaaaaay too long) into the open stove.
She then steps back to admire the wonky, beaten up flowers and overly long logs and has a look of satisfaction on her face. Done. Home complete. Focal point (stove) sorted.
Although I can’t help thinking that Jane (as her character, obvs, and not in real life, because she’s been a very successful and smart actress/businesswoman) would just be ditsy and daft enough to light the stove and cook the flowers. Bless.
Anyhoo, back to the Shoogly wood. As the owners of more than 250 trees of all shapes and sizes, and only one teeny weeny stove, we are never short of wood. And we are in possession of a chainsaw.
When tooled up, Mr E looks like an advert for a chainsaw company in his special trews, boots and helmet. Safety first.
And we worked off some (probably very few, actually, in relation to the volume consumed) of those pigs in blankets, mince pies and trifle with a bout of wood sorting, sawing and stacking.
A few barrowloads later and we had a builders’ bag full in the garage, and a sack of twigs for kindling.
And a few calories burned off ... so room for half a tub of Celebrations. Stoves are, indeed, wonderful things.