Throw another log on the fire please Big Man…

When I lived in London and the weather turned chilly (usually around the second week of August if I remember correctly), I cranked up the central heating and thought nothing more about turning it off again until about the second week of July.

Living in the Campo, we have no mains gas connection.  A few brave souls have installed gas fired central heating, but because our main living/dining/kitchen area is all one room, we decided that a fire would be enough for us.

Well, it should have been had the first fire we bought worked well.  It was a super duper one with a glass door that was meant to waft lovely warm air over us and fill the house with a cosy glow.  Mmm.  What we actually got was a smoky old fart of a fireplace that ate up wood like a starving person newly released from the fat farm and left us shivering and having to repaint the house which turned a yucky nicotine brown colour.

We saved up our pennies and bought a new fire which looked almost identical but to our great joy, actually worked! Now our fire eats wood like a super model on a diet, wafts warm air over us without suffocating us with smoke and warms the bathroom and hall which sit behind it until the next morning.

Getting wood to the house is a whole other matter.  No quick trip to the petrol station for a bag of logs, we buy several thousand kilos a year to keep us going, and have a very special way of getting it up the slope to our house. Just in case you should find yourself in the same situation, here´s our recipe for keeping toasty warm all winter when living in the almost middle of nowhere.

First, load 4 thousand kilos of oak onto your rusty but trust old lorry.  Feel free to substitute olive, almond or cherry wood as available that year.

Leave some of it in your little olive grove.

Drive your rusty but trusty lorry over kindly neighbour´s field and park by side of your house. Crank up the winch and start to manoeuvre a couple of bags into place outside your back door.

If you have a small dog called Alfi (or similar), take him up to the roof with you to help direct the winch. Small dogs have a particular talent for this I find.

Otherwise, get a friendly neighbour to help.

Let your eye wander over the sad looking vegetable garden enjoying a well deserved rest for the winter.

Place the wood where you want it.

Accept a kiss from your lovely but hot and grubby Big Man who has done all the work.

Light that fire, open a bottle of wine and relax.