This winter may not have been especially cold, but it remains hard to find motivation when the day is so short. If simply getting out of bed is tough enough, then pulling the curtains closed at tea-time is utterly depressing – the evening can become long and decidedly black.
Fishpool is fortunate. A quick scout around the woods and the flex of a bowsaw can deliver a welcome treat. Watching the flames dance in the fireplace beats the television any day, and the warmth is somehow different to any other source.
The process of building a fire is key to the ritual – rather like a smoker packing his pipe or rolling his own. Fishpool doesn’t use paper, instead grabbing a small handful of whittles which leap readily to flame. The most satisfying fire is one that is allowed to slowly build. Teasing it with twigs and small branches before allowing it a main course. Then, to sit back with the lights low and the shadows flickering, winter doesn’t seem nearly so bad.
The only better place to find a fire is in a lovely old Inn, preferably after a cold day on the riverbank and with a pint of something pleasant in one’s hand. That truly is a moment of magic.