Sunday, 27 May 2007

Man make fire

Show me a man who isn't drawn to an open fire and I'll show you a man with no soul. I'm not talking about pyromania either. There's something deeply primeval about fire and, for me at least, it was an integral part of childhood outdoor adventures. As kids, we wandered for miles, exploring the woods and glens that surrounded us. Sometimes we'd find a place that we wanted to linger in or come back to time and again and it was in those places that we'd set up "camp".

First order of business would be to get a fire going and that job always fell to me. A shallow pit would be dug, tinder and fuel gathered and the fire lit. We'd sit then around, watching the flames and take in our surroundings. Simple pleasures that today's kids seem to have lost. When it was time to go, the fire would be put out and turf put back on top of the pit. Even back then, "leave no trace" was the unspoken rule. No cans, no empty Buckie bottles or crisp packets. No sign that we'd ever been there.

These days, campfires are frowned upon but I may have found a compromise; the wood-burning stove. I'd seen them over at Podcast Bob's but at £20+, I wasn't tempted. Then I spotted some on Ebay, listed as "seconds" and a snip at less than £10 delivered so I took a chance.

It turned up yesterday, the box slightly battered but the stove itself was in perfect nick. And so, as the sun went down, it was off out into the garden for a "test run". A wee bit of paper and a few twigs were all it took to get a fire going. In what felt like no time at all, I had boiling water. I also had something else; a big, stupid grin on my face. I was a kid again.

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