Relight my fire
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