Thursday, October 10
We spent this morning collecting barrowloads of kindling from the surrounding hedgerows and fields. We have had another dry day and the wood will burn straight away. Once the weather changes and we have long periods of rain it will be difficult to dry the wood out. We are stacking it in the greenhouse, shed and garage, as well as filling baskets in the house. We still have a supply of firelighters for the moment, but cannot rely on being able to get any more. We also have a stack of old newspapers which we retrieved from the recycling bin as the rubbish collectors have not been on their normal rounds. This paper, together with dry twigs and the fir cones we’ve collected, will light our fires in the weeks to come.
Martin has also been splitting logs from the seasoned wood which has been drying out over the last couple of years. We were sad when some mature trees, oak, apple and pine, fell in the last bad winter, but now we are very grateful for the firewood these have produced. It’s a good mix of hard and soft woods which burns well.
It’s hard work gathering, splitting and stacking all this wood, but we know it’s essential if we are to stay warm and be able to cook and heat water. We are stacking the logs wherever we have a sheltered corner outside, in the porch, the lean-to and the old coal bunker. But I have drawn a line, so far, at letting Martin stack logs in the hall and drawing room. This is still a house, not a wood shed, I’ve said. We may be cold, but there are limits and filling the alcoves provided by the inglenooks is enough.