Both fires are going - in the front room and in the back room. The front room wood burner burns coal so it requires regular trips to the coal bunker out back to refill the bucket, and top up the fire.
The back room woodstove only burns wood. I nurtured it back to life from last night's embers, and fed it all the wood I had in the room. Out to the log pile to split a couple barrowfuls more. Then back to shake down the bed of ash in the front room, and back again to prod the back room fire. And again to the front room fire to empty the ash. And to the back room again to feed the wood in, which burns twice as quick as the coal.
I'm going to need to put a revolving door in between the rooms.
There is something holiday-ish and cozy about a fire, I don't deny that. But only when it's supplemental to modern heat. Otherwise it's an unending chore. We do have central heating - installed 4 years ago. The house was previously "heated" using a solid fuel burning system that allegedly pumped heat to radiators throughout the house. Mike disputes its effectiveness.
But our wood is free, our coal is cheap and the central heating burns oil which is not. So I chop and stack and feed the never-satiated stoves. This is my new second job.
And it's not unique to us. The BBC news report this morning said that 6.5 million Britons live in substandard housing, which includes bathrooms that are not attached to their house. Yes - outhouses. The first apartment I looked at in England had an unheated 2nd bathroom at the bottom of the garden, and the rental people seemed to think it was normal.
I'm not saying we compare to developing nations' living conditions but we certainly fall short of first world conveniences. Like bathrooms not at the bottom of the garden.
We only have one bathroom, but it is heated and inside the house (another tick in the 'modern' box). However, at least once a day I need to 'spend a penny' and either the bathroom's occupied or I'm too lazy to take my boots and rain gear off to walk on the carpet (another tick) and I sneak behind the house to where the drain is. We've affectionately termed this our 'en-suite'. I've learned to pee really fast when it's raining.
What life choice did I make that has put me in a position where I have limited access to indoor plumbing?
Yet we have wi-fi and a laptop (albeit an ancient IBM ThinkPad).
I'm not against modern improvements. Any tool, be it an axe or a computer, is useful if it makes the job more efficient and easier to accomplish. I watched our mate Colin with his tractor-mounted hedge trimmer trim our front hedge this morning. In minutes. From the warm dry cab of the tractor. I've cut that hedge with a hand-held petrol hedge trimmer for the last few years and I can confirm that cutting it with a tractor is a vast improvement on my quality of life at least.
Bless you, Colin
An example of the horses shoes courtesy of The British Lawnmower Museum website
This is what inspired my thoughts today while poking the fires. And this is the result of my efforts:
I will refrain from making a hot dog joke.