“I put up a petition annually for as much snow, hail, frost or storm, of one kind or another
as the skies can possibly afford us. Surely everybody is aware of the divine pleasures which
attend a winter fireside, candles at four o’clock, warm hearth-rugs, tea, a fair tea maker,
shutters closed, curtains flowing in ample draperies on the floor whilst the wind and rain
are raging audibly without”.
Thomas de Quincey- Confessions of an English Opium-eater
One of the great pleasures of my Slow Life is an open fire. The colder it is outside the more blissful the fire. Of course the ideal is the inglenook blazing with logs but here at Yewbarrow House we have small fireplaces and I find that a mixture of logs and coal is best. The fireplaces here are placed beneath windows, which is an usual architectural feature, but one which works well and we get a good draw even though the flue has to bend sharply to reach the chimney which runs up the side of the window.
Some of my sharpest early memories are to do with coal fires- of fetching buckets of coal from the outhouse and putting the “slack” on the kitchen fire last thing at night, so that it would last until morning. Perhaps it’s those childhood memories which make an open fire so precious- whatever the reason it’s good to come home to a blazing fire on a frosty evening.