Re­light my fire

Hampshire Life - - Countryside Life -

Plumes of smoke abound as Mar­got and Jerry

em­brace bon­fire sea­son at the cot­tage

Novem­ber sim­ply wouldn’t be Novem­ber with­out the smell of wood fires fill­ing the air. From al­most ev­ery­where around the farm­house and be­yond, there’s a whiff of smoke. Just pic­ture the idyl­lic au­tum­nal scene. The four of us nes­tled in arm­chairs for a cosy Sun­day af­ter­noon by the fire, with all the ro­man­ti­cism of com­fort­ing crack­les from the log fire, a good book and steam­ing mugs of hot choco­late. Now com­pletely wipe this im­age from your mind. Hon­estly, did you re­ally think that sounded at all like Mar­got and Jerry HQ, dear Reader? Oh no. The con­stant ris­ing plumes of smoke in the vicin­ity of the farm­house can only sig­nify one thing. Bon­fire sea­son.

I can’t tell you how much Jerry loves a bon­fire. Pre­sid­ing over its smoky smoul­ders in a ho­ley jumper, I have a gen­uine fear that he may well have turned into a py­ro­ma­niac of late. As the girls and I de­light in kick­ing the thou­sands of leaves in heaps all around, Jerry re­mains stead­fastly loyal to the great pyre at the top of the gar­den.

It all started with a ques­tion. How many peo­ple does it take to start a bon­fire? I prom­ise this isn’t the be­gin­ning of some long-winded yarn, dear Reader. Although it did start out as a joke be­tween us and the farmer on the hill who pro­fessed that judg­ing by what he’d seen, Jerry and I couldn’t light a fire even if we de­pended on it; a rather un­fair ap­praisal of our ob­vi­ously abun­dant sur­vival skills. I mean any­one who knows us, knows we’re com­pletely pro­fi­cient when it comes to all things prac­ti­cal, dear Reader….Light­ing a bon­fire? Of course we can do that – don’t be so ridicu­lous. Ex­cept if you’d seen how many times

Jerry and I had tried and failed to get a blaze go­ing in the farm­house gar­den, you’d have per­haps thought that said farmer might have had a point.

Hon­estly, what started out as a rel­a­tively sim­ple au­tumn task, quickly turned into a Goldilocksstyle dilemma. The bon­fire pile was ei­ther too wet or it was too windy, too tightly packed with leaves or too airy so any lit­tle spark blew out in­stantly. In des­per­a­tion to prove the farmer wrong, at one point I was left fan­ning tiny sparks with the old farm­house For Sale sign which hadn’t made it to the tip. Surely this time we’d crack it. Clearly I hadn’t bar­gained for hunt­ing for hedge­hogs. Just when we had a per­fectly shaped bon­fire (it’s amaz­ing what YouTube can teach you), Poppy called a halt to all py­rotech­nic pro­ceed­ings to mount a full scale search for hi­ber­nat­ing hoglets. Bon­fire du­ti­fully dis­man­tled, I can con­firm that Mrs Tig­gy­win­kle and fam­ily were de­clared safe and sound.

‘Still try­ing to get that fire go­ing?,’ the farmer chor­tled when I passed him in his trac­tor. Hon­estly, it’s lucky I’ve got a thick skin as our coun­try­side an­tics seems to be a con­stant source of amuse­ment for our farm­ing neigh­bours.

De­ter­mined to van­quish our dreaded bon­fire neme­sis, a week later there was a whoosh and a tri­umphant Jerry stand­ing by a bon­fire which re­sem­bled Tow­er­ing In­ferno. He won’t tell me his se­cret but I sus­pect it might well have some­thing to do with pour­ing a load of paraf­fin over it judg­ing by the fact that he seems to have nearly lost his eye­brows. Ever since, the bon­fire has re­mained a per­ma­nent fix­ture. I’d bet­ter just make sure he hasn’t set the hedge on fire - I’m not sure there’s any gar­den rub­bish left to burn,

dear Reader. Read more: You can read Mar­got’s blog at mar­got­tri­es­the­goodlife.com and fol­low her an­tics on twit­ter @mar­got­goodlife.

You can also find out more about Mar­got on her pro­file at hamp­shire-life.co.uk

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