It is ok, I am not a pyromaniac!!! It has been particularly cold here in Brisbane this week - in fact we've had the coldest winter days for over ten years, so I am cold. Upstairs where I spend much of my time here is a vast open space and not conducive to my little heater succeeding in keeping me warm. I stand out in the sun (when it is out - which it hasn't much), and I rug myself up with my 'throw'. I made one recently.
Yesterday I spoke with the owner who is preparing to return to Australia later this month and she asked if I had used the fire. It is downstairs, but there is a huge 'pipe' that pipes the heat into the upstairs area. But there was no wood or anything else, and anyway I can't remember when I lit a fire. The owner suggested I ask her son to light it for me - but since he is seldom around and I rarely speak with him, I figured I would try to set it myself.
I went downstairs and examined the fireplace - it was essential a metal box, with a heavy glass door. No timber, no kindling.
I found the supply of timber in a little garden shed, and loaded some up and took it into the house. Kindling? I looked around the gard and all I could find were some old palm leaves. I pulled them apart and stuffed them into the fireplace. I did start with a couple of sheets of paper, lit the match and sat and watched.
The paper took off, and then the leaves from the palm fronds, but the bigger timber did not catch on. I watched as the fire died in front of me. I remembr years ago as a child, watching my parents light the open fire in our loungeroom, and later as a Girl Guide lighting fires to cook our food, sometimes the fires did not wish to take. I remember we would just try again.
So last night I tried again. I ventured into the garden and sourced some more dry palm fronds, and went back pushed it in the fireplace, lit the match. Success at last.
The fire eventually was roaring - a roaring success? And soon upstairs began to warm up, and I put a huge log on and left it.
I've not been down to check this morning, but I will shortly. I am off to the supermarket soon, and when I come back I will light it up again. Then I will spend this cold miserable day warm in front of my computer, or reading my book.
I am reading "The Last Days of Old Beijing" and finding it particular fascinating as he writes about an area that I am slightly familiar with, as when I was in Beijing I stayed in a hotel near some old hutong. (I've learned from the book that there is no plural for hutong - it can mean one or many.) Over the past 10 and more years the government of Beijing has destroyed all the lovely hutong - traditional housing and in a rampant way have replaced them with sterile multistory housing appartments and shopping complexes.