Or rather getting it going in the first place.
You know, I even bought a bunch of soup vegetables because I knew that I would be the one putting the Aga stove into first gear. A nice slow cooked soup on a wood burning stove is a delicacy and rather calming. Putting a new log in every twenty minutes is relaxing and means you can stay at home and just Be. Good intentions and so on...
At about half past nine I went out into one of our barns and collected wood and kindling. Mausi was getting rather excited jumping in and out of the basket with the wood in it. Okay, I thought, better now than never and why shouldn't it get going on my first attempt.
Newspaper was crumpled, kindling layered and match lit, cat sitting next to me and prayer sent off. The newspaper did burn noisily and I started to get a feeling of achievement that is until the sound stopped. Jeez-a-lou, none of the kindling burnt long enough to get the wooden log inflamed. With growing irritation I repeated the process three times with no luck. Great, maybe blankets would do the trick of keeping Mausi and me warm...
The powers that be made my mum phone me at that moment and I asked her if she would help me with making a fire. She is an ace at it and was here at the speed of lightning, worrying that her little one was cold. A mum's a mum even when we are grown up!
Naturally, it only took my mum a minute to get a big fire going. How does she do it so effortlessly?
I saw the error of my ways or rather my fire making and was feeling euphoric about having a go at it. Coming home later in the afternoon I got my opportunity...the fire needed to be re-lit. Not even embers were visible. Not a problem, I followed parental instructions to the letter and lit the match.
Nothing. Nada. Nichts...Either I would have to call the cavalry ( mum ) or just keep on trying. A fleeting idea of calling one of our neighbours in was dismissed, as it would spread like wildfire that I can't make a fire... It took me a whole hour to get a fire going, with the odd moments of extreme smoke, irritation and swearing in a ladylike manner of course, but in the end I was able to slow cook a soup on the Aga stove.
" Stay at home, my heart, and rest; Home-keeping hearts are happiest. "Henry W. Longfellow, 1807-1882
" There is no place more delightful than one's own fireside. Nullus est locus domestica sede jucundior. " Cicero