Fire and Ice

Hello again reader,

It’s that time of year again, where it gets frosty outside and the winter chill is creeping in. As we speak I have immersed myself into the depths of my blankets making me feel comfortable, safe and warm. I’d like to talk to you about the fires we make when it’s cold. Though it is to no surprise we prefer the warmth of a bed or the heat of a fire, I often wonder why many open fires in homes cease to exist anymore when we create them outside still.

Apart from the obvious dangers, open fires are a great source of warmth and though coal isn’t the cheapest material, there is lots of wood to go around. I stress that I do not condone the murder of tall mighty trees, and prefer that if you are going to use a tree as a living source you should replace that said tree. Or leave some so it may grow anew. I just wondered why we no longer take comfort in an open flame.

My home I would say is a traditional 1900’s building, built around the time of the war. It’s spacious enough for my family – as being the youngest sibling of six – it was very much welcomed. But what disappoints me the most in this house, is that the open fires have all been boarded up. There was a fireplace in each bedroom. In my room there’s still a remnant of the raised board underneath the carpet … which makes things a bit lopsided if you try to put anything there…And a constant reminder due to the internal chimney breast.

Though some houses still have the open fire it is rarely used. Other people opt. for the “look-alike” open fires, the electric ones. I personally don’t like them very much. Though I suppose it reduces the risk of house fires. Moreover I’ve noticed the culprit of the loss of open fires – central heating. Have you ever realised they never put open fireplaces in any new homes? New homes suck. But that’s another story. As much as it is heavenly to wake up toasty in the morning, in my family we rarely use the heating. Why? Cost. I much prefer to wrap up in cosy, snug blankets anyway.

I feel my first thoughts came to me a year or so ago and I only started to think about it again when I re-visited this place a week ago. This building stands tall in the humble countryside of Cannington. The open fire warmed my spirit, like nothing else has ever done before. I’m a sucker for tradition and an old soul at heart.

Later, my thoughts became harder to ignore as yesterday Bonfire Night came around. I spoke to my father about bonfires and he told me how he used to make his own out in the garden using anything he could find. (Things that no-one wanted anymore I should add.) Saying “Penny for the Guy” out in the street, of course this was to make a “Guy Fawkes” to burn later on that day. Simpler times.

It lead me to imagine myself making my own bonfire, I find beauty in the smaller things and could picture myself one day out in the garden with a bonfire going. On a clear starry night with the moon high above me, as if guarding or watching me in it’s celestial grace…

What you may or may not know about bonfire night is how it is supposed to commemorate Guy Fawkes’ failure on blowing up the houses of parliament. For others it’s slightly different that perhaps involves the battle of Boyne in 1690. However I’m focusing my attentions to Guy Fawkes for the time being. The history around Guy Fawkes is that he was arrested after planting explosives under the House of Lords in 1605. The people celebrated King James I survival by lighting bonfires around London. Later on in 1606 the Act of November 5th was put in place, where we would give thanks to the traitors failure. A little weird… But I guess everyone likes a party.

You may recall the famous poem written around 1870:

Remember, remember!
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!

The poem goes onto say about what happened which you can read here: http://www.potw.org/archive/potw405.html. This is said to make sure new generations do not forget the treason that happened all those years ago, so they may carry on the tradition of Bonfire Night. Although I wouldn’t want to burn a “Guy Fawkes” myself… Just seems wrong to me. I would, however fully appreciate a nice warm bonfire to take away the midnight chill.

To conclude, fires are a great source of warmth at this time of year. So if you are planning to make any sort of fire; be it a campfire, bonfire or burning wood/coal in an open fireplace… Please stay safe when making these fires and with setting off fireworks.

Added note:  I’d like to take a minute to remember those people who have been injured or have had fatal injuries. For instance, the two people who have been killed in a firework incident this month in Stafford, UK… Rest in Peace.

Until the next time.

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SESCH

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