By Bernie Bell
Just before Christmas 2015, we had a small multi-fuel stove installed. We’d been meaning to do this, for years, but, each time we’d saved up for it, something would turn up which gobbled up the money. We finally had saved up enough, and nothing else turned up !!!!! So, we got a stove, and had it installed. We love it, for many reasons, but one big reason is………it’s a real thing. It’s solid, iron. It works by moving some knobs about. There’s a knob to ‘riddle’ the ashes so they drop into the tray. There’s a knob to open the flue to the chimney, there’s another knob to regulate the flow of air through to the fire itself. It doesn’t rely on batteries or electricity. And….we have to use our senses, and our minds to make it work. We don’t just flick a switch, and get instant heat, light, etc. The stove means that a person has to pay attention, set the fire properly, regulate the flow of air, keep an eye on it.
In a world of ever-increasing gadgets which mean that folk don’t need to use their minds or their senses because everything is done for them, this little stove makes you work a bit, for what you want. If you want heat from it, if you want it to work, you have to pay attention and work with it. It’s great.
On the decorative side – the chimney reflects things, it reflects light, either artificial or sunlight, and reflects the things on the wall behind it. The whole thing, looks cosy even when it’s not lit.
And, The Wind People cavort in the chimney – we can hear them, and if I put my hand on the side of the chimney, I can feel them moving about in there.
The Wind People
Their faces are the skeins of air that we
sometimes perceive to finger across a flag or sheet;
their bodies, that which fills a tree
when it is wrought by their possession, throws
about its limbs as if distraught.
And they are like the catspaws of the fire,
and they are simple-minded in their time;
often their quarrels by coincidence
catch in the splinters of a human fate
and pull us willy-nilly to the grave or flame.
Lovers, quite often, capture by mistake
within a kiss, a wind-person by the hem
and then the breath that each one breathes
is the trapped and unknowing spirit of another being.
It’s this that scares a lover oftentime.
The wind people inhabit wars and shores.
It’s they who form the whistle of the shell,
for they are fascinated by all forms of spirals
and love to lie along the horns of shells.
They’re angered, though, by bangs and bells.
Especially in Fall the wind people come by.
They think that we are only swifter forms of trees. To them
the tender flesh of thigh and breast is hard as stone.
In these last months
I’ve become not much different from they.
A year ago I felt a ticking in my eye
whenever wind was round.
Investigating this phenomenon I found
A veil of colours in the air so faint it was
Not so much sight as sound.
At first I could not tell the boundary
Between one windperson and another. Now
I’ve even named them, though their names are secret.
I wondered whether they had anything to do with prayer:
But they come neither out of heaven nor hell.
–And now I know their shapes in whirling sand;
I’ve grown to recognize their smell
(like hills of bitter snow) and see
in turns of my own madness their many-fingered hand
weaving their versions of eternity.
by Fred Turner
The hearth is made of local stone, smoothed and oiled, and when the sun shines on it, you can still see the patterns in the stone.
So, here’s our stove – a real thing in an increasingly un-real world.
For anyone who would like to read more of Fred Turner….
House is not a home with no fire in it, but then I always felt an affinity for fire.