Thursday, 24 January 2013

Burns Night

The wood obsession has always been with me and it does not relate to just fishing rods either. The joy of using wood for a burn up at home, on the bank, on the beach or anywhere in fact is one of life's little pleasures. The simple art of brewing a pot of tea on a simple fire outdoors is one that still brings me great joy. I still dream about the log pile that you see above - I have not come across a better one. I came across it quite by chance in an orchard on the west bank of the tidal Severn Estuary. A veritable feast of wood, quite a work of art.

Another joy is foraging for wood to supplement the log store - from the beach, lanes and bridleways it is amazing what you can find. A friend of mine in Herefordshire only burns foraged wood and his store generates much in the way of wood envy! Kindling is another area where enjoyment is to be found - I have often used dried orange peel as well as driftwood which adds a spicy aroma to the room.  

The obsession has also been fuelled by a marvellous book by the equally marvellously named Vincent Thurkettle. I was lucky enough to get his book The Wood Fire Handbook (Mitchell Beazley 2012) in my Christmas stocking and it is my read of choice beside the fire these last few days.

You have to check out the rather endearing little film below of Vincent talking about his book, lovely stuff, it perfectly describes why I like wood and wood fires too! I haven't had a chance to check out the other films in the series but with titles such as how to make kindling and how to chop logs who could resist?

I often enjoy a rummage in the wood shed and earlier it resulted in a couple of prized beech logs that were intended for use as Christmas Yule logs. I totally forgot about them which is a shame as beech is a cracking wood for the fire but also these came from a favourite haunt which would have made the yule experience even more special. It is my favourite wood for the fire - it rarely throws sparks and makes really good embers. The flames are rich and bright yellow with a gentle smoke. The smoke is easy on the nose and eyes and has a soft scent - newly mown hay and a slight hint of incense sticks. Anyway, not quite Burns Night yet, but we couldn't resist a ceremonial fire (pic below) to welcome the first of the snow here in West Dorset. 

Come Burns Night I know what I will be doing - sitting by the fire with a glass of something to not only toast wee Rabbie but Vince as well. Cheers!

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