Eighteen years we have lived in this house, yet I doubt if we have lit this little stove more than five or six times. Some early experiences involving a lot of smoke, and the presence of perfectly adequate storage heaters, have made it seem like a waste of time. Still, as the temperature drops outside, what could be nicer than to bask in front of an open fire, enjoying buttered crumpets and mince pies?
Note, among the brassware, a piece of utilitarian laundry equipment, which I remember my mother buying new. Called a "poss," it was in weekly use alongside the dolly-tub, boiler and mangle during my childhood. And now here it is decorating my hearth.
Saturday brought an unpleasant surprise. My husband having just collected a batch of timber destined to be our new dining-table, set off for his shed anticipating a few hours of pondering and pencil-chewing. But, through night, a large, high, storage shelf had collapsed, scattering a scrow of debris over his workbench. Thus began several hours of final reckoning and a trip to the tip. When did I think I would ever complete a macrame lampshade, started in the early Eighties? His shed is much improved by this enforced de-clutter. Only this little owl survives from the macrame enterprise.