The Romance of an Open Fire

Anne here, in a sudden cold snap with misty rain. I'm smelling the fragrance of wood smoke on the air and I'm brooding on the romance of an open fire. It's not cold enough to need a fire, you see, so one of my neighbors has lit it purely for the atmosphere. An open fire is such a cosy thing. And I don't have one, which is why I'm so absurdly dreamy about them.  Fire1

I'm very appreciative of the convenience of heat at the flick of a switch and I know it's not exactly romantic having an open fire as your sole source of warmth — collecting the wood, chopping kindling, and logs of various thicknesses, setting the fire, cleaning away the old ashes and so on.

I grew up with that as a child and it's not much fun starting a fire from scratch when you arrive home, freezing and wet to a cold, dark house. Or first thing in the morning when you're cold and sleepy and only the bed is warm. 
Rainyday 

But once the kindling catches and the flames stop flirting with the wood and the fire becomes a roaring blaze, there's something so elementally satisfying about standing in front of the hearth, warming yourself at a fire you've created. Dangerous, too — I once stood so close to a fire I set my skirt on fire. Only a bit, and I have to admit it was very funny at the time, but still… I do love a fire, and not just because of the heat.

When people gather around a fire something magical happens — storytelling. I suspect it's some age-old instinct, staring into the fire, watching the coals shift and the flames dance, and spinning stories. Whether it's indoors around a fire, or outdoors around a campfire, there's an irresistible urge to talk and to listen. And sometimes to sing, of course. Some friends of mine are famed for their parties and one of the secrets of their success is, I'm sure, the fact that they always have a couple of large fires blazing, and as the night progresses people invariably drift toward the fire, and the stories start. They're wonderful parties and they always end very late.

When I was a little girl, I read a lot of books in front of an open fire, sprawled out on a rug on the floor, lost in the world of the book, with the fire crackling and hissing gently in the background. The fire added to the atmosphere of the stories. Readingwithteddy

I remember a story set in prehistoric times — I'm not sure if it was cave dwellers or wandering tribespeople, but distinctly recall thinking if I lived in that time I'd like to be the child whose job it was to keep the fire alight, guarding the precious flame, keeping it alive with twigs and dried moss as we wandered from place to place — because these people didn't know how to make fire for themselves. Notice how I ignored the likely danger/starvation/ discomfort/danger involved in that life? It didn't matter. I was the guardian of the flame. No problem. 

The availability of fire and fuel is never something to be taken for granted and wood has to be gathered and chopped. I like to remind my characters (and readers) of that sometimes, because it's something a rich man would take for granted. Here's a snippet from The Accidental Wedding:

By the time Nash came inside he was shivering. He added a small log to the fire. A week ago he would have built a really good blaze. He loved a roaring fire, loved watching the flames dance and the sparks fly. There was a primitive satisfaction in making a fire roar.

But Maddy and the children had to gather the fuel themselves, wandering the forest in search of fallen timber, then dragging it home, chopping it as needed.

On that thought, he went back outside, found the ax she kept just inside the back door, chopped up the rest of her wood, and stacked it neatly by the back door. The combination of exercise and cold, fresh air got his blood moving again. He felt better than he had in days.

On cold winter nights when I was a child, we often used to make toast in front of the fire, toasting the thick slices of bread, and sometimes crumpets, on long toasting forks. Toast tasted so much better that way, even if it was slightly blackened in parts or you had to brush off a bit of ash because you accidentally dropped it. I've used that in a story too, particularly because sharing a fire fosters intimacy. This is from An Honorable Thief:

"Dev, old fellow. Come here and show this girl how to hold a toasting fork," he said. "Wouldn't credit it—-girl's been to India and all sorts of outlandish places but she's never toasted bread in front of a nursery fire before! Shockin' gap in her education! Rectify the matter myself, only I've discovered an appalling absence of marmalade. Can't have toast without marmalade, y'know. Off to see to the matter immediately." Crumpets

"Oh no, it's quite all right—" Kit began.

"I'd be delighted," interrupted Mr Devenish smoothly, as Sir William breezed out of the room, his youngest child riding horsie on his back. 

He sat down on the hearth rug, right next to Kit. In seconds little Sally, aged five, clambered over his long legs and plopped herself down in his lap. To Kit's astonishment, stern, unapproachable Mr Devenish didn't turn a hair. He simply seized a fork and bending his head to the little mop of golden curls, showed Kit and the child how to attach the bread securely to the fork. 

The oldest girl, Nell settled herself down with Kit, declaring she would show Miss Kitty-cat the way of it because there wasn't all that much bread left, and suddenly peace reigned in the nursery, as the important business of making toast took precedence over all.

Kit tried very hard to concentrate on following the commands of her toast instructress, but her eyes kept flickering sideways to the big dark man sitting on the hearth rug with the tow-headed moppet in his lap. His big hands were guiding the little ones, and he murmured encouragement in a low undertone. Little Sally scowled in grim concentration as she held the fork towards the fire, its weight unobtrusively supported by the man. After a moment or two, the little girl looked up at him. 

"Now?" 

"If you like." He nodded, and she carefully drew the fork back. They both inspected the toast and after a short consultation, solemnly pronounced it ready to be buttered. That was Lady Marsden's job, apparently. She buttered the toast lavishly, honey was applied and the toast was devoured by child and man alike, with gusto.

Kit watched the whole procedure, a lump in her throat. He sprawled, relaxed on the hearth rug, in his fine London clothes and his shiny Hessian boots, a small, decidedly sticky girl-child resting against his chest, sleepily licking honey from her fingers. He seemed not to mind at all, in fact he looked like a man who had been given a taste of Heaven for the evening. 

Kit bit her lip. He looked so stern and severe and he'd been so gentle with the little one, it almost broke her heart to watch them. 

He glanced over at her and smiled. He wasn't a man who smiled often. It made her want to weep again.

After that night at the opera, she'd resolved to keep him at a distance with the strictest, most rigid formality. 

Formality was simply not possible; not when they were both sprawled on a hooked woolen rug in front of a crackling fire, the detritus of an impromptu picnic scattered around them and each with a sleepy child nestled against them. Or in his case, with a tow-headed little angel curled up in the crook of his arm, sound asleep against his heart.

 Fire is primitive and elemental and utterly fundamental to human existence. I've used fire to evoke scenes of cosy domesticity or to play as a counterpoint to a love scene. I've had characters work together to light a fire and I've had fire destroy a character's home and livelihood. I've had characters dry themselves by the fire, toss documents in the fire, gaze at each other in the shadows thrown by fire. And of course, fire is a metaphor for passion… This is from my January book, BRIDE BY MISTAKE:

The candlelight danced lightly across her face, caressing her full, dark lips, turning her eyes into pools of mystery. She ate in silence, but he could look at her face all night and not be bored.

Luke drank a local wine with his dinner, finding it dry and very much to his taste, but after one sip, Isabella had grimaced and set it aside. He gave the landlord a silent signal, and the man nodded, and returned in a few moments, telling Isabella his wife had sent up some of her very own sweet apple cider for the young lady. 

Isabella tasted it with caution that would have amused Luke if he wasn't focused entirely on the way her mouth seemed to caress the glass. She liked it, gave the man a dazzling smile and sent thanks and warm compliments to his wife. 

Would she ever smile like that at Luke?

Her hair, twisted high on her head, curled around her face in a riot of feathery tendrils, clustering around her temple and nape. Loose in the firelight, it had been a gleaming, silken waterfall of darkness against the pale delicacy of her skin, a dozen shades of ebony twisting between her slender fingers like a live thing. 

He'd longed to plunge his fingers into that thick, silken mass, place his mouth against that tender nape. Instead he'd sipped the liqueur, the taste of which would forever remind him of her. Unexpected combinations, dark, yet sweet and sharp. Cool on the outside, a slow burn within. Firing his appetite.

So do you have an open fire in your home? Did you grow up with a fire and have to chop wood and sweep out ashes and build the fire? What memories do you have of that? And what's your favorite thing about an open fire?


165 thoughts on “The Romance of an Open Fire”

  1. Lovely post, Anne. Fires are wonderfully romantic. We had a great cottage in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec when I was a little girl, and I always loved the fireplace. Like you, I found it a great place to read!
    A more recent memory is of the open fireplace in the cottage we stayed at in Ireland two years ago. It burned peat, of course, and the aroma of the turf was lovely. I found myself imagining that I was my Irish heroine as I sat by that fire and listened to Irish music.
    Can’t wait for Bride By Mistake!

    Reply
  2. Lovely post, Anne. Fires are wonderfully romantic. We had a great cottage in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec when I was a little girl, and I always loved the fireplace. Like you, I found it a great place to read!
    A more recent memory is of the open fireplace in the cottage we stayed at in Ireland two years ago. It burned peat, of course, and the aroma of the turf was lovely. I found myself imagining that I was my Irish heroine as I sat by that fire and listened to Irish music.
    Can’t wait for Bride By Mistake!

    Reply
  3. Lovely post, Anne. Fires are wonderfully romantic. We had a great cottage in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec when I was a little girl, and I always loved the fireplace. Like you, I found it a great place to read!
    A more recent memory is of the open fireplace in the cottage we stayed at in Ireland two years ago. It burned peat, of course, and the aroma of the turf was lovely. I found myself imagining that I was my Irish heroine as I sat by that fire and listened to Irish music.
    Can’t wait for Bride By Mistake!

    Reply
  4. Lovely post, Anne. Fires are wonderfully romantic. We had a great cottage in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec when I was a little girl, and I always loved the fireplace. Like you, I found it a great place to read!
    A more recent memory is of the open fireplace in the cottage we stayed at in Ireland two years ago. It burned peat, of course, and the aroma of the turf was lovely. I found myself imagining that I was my Irish heroine as I sat by that fire and listened to Irish music.
    Can’t wait for Bride By Mistake!

    Reply
  5. Lovely post, Anne. Fires are wonderfully romantic. We had a great cottage in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec when I was a little girl, and I always loved the fireplace. Like you, I found it a great place to read!
    A more recent memory is of the open fireplace in the cottage we stayed at in Ireland two years ago. It burned peat, of course, and the aroma of the turf was lovely. I found myself imagining that I was my Irish heroine as I sat by that fire and listened to Irish music.
    Can’t wait for Bride By Mistake!

    Reply
  6. Oh, Cynthia I so remember the smell of a peat fire. We had them in Scotland and also when we visited our relatives in Ireland. The particular scent of a fire is so evocative.
    Years ago I went to the UK and planned on dropping in on some old family friends who’d been living there for years, and my mother made me take them a handful of gum leaves (eucalyptus leaves) as well as some other more normal gifts. I remember handing over the dried old leaves a bit diffidently but they were such a hit. They tossed a few into their little coal fire, and suddenly the little London flat smelled of the bush and home.

    Reply
  7. Oh, Cynthia I so remember the smell of a peat fire. We had them in Scotland and also when we visited our relatives in Ireland. The particular scent of a fire is so evocative.
    Years ago I went to the UK and planned on dropping in on some old family friends who’d been living there for years, and my mother made me take them a handful of gum leaves (eucalyptus leaves) as well as some other more normal gifts. I remember handing over the dried old leaves a bit diffidently but they were such a hit. They tossed a few into their little coal fire, and suddenly the little London flat smelled of the bush and home.

    Reply
  8. Oh, Cynthia I so remember the smell of a peat fire. We had them in Scotland and also when we visited our relatives in Ireland. The particular scent of a fire is so evocative.
    Years ago I went to the UK and planned on dropping in on some old family friends who’d been living there for years, and my mother made me take them a handful of gum leaves (eucalyptus leaves) as well as some other more normal gifts. I remember handing over the dried old leaves a bit diffidently but they were such a hit. They tossed a few into their little coal fire, and suddenly the little London flat smelled of the bush and home.

    Reply
  9. Oh, Cynthia I so remember the smell of a peat fire. We had them in Scotland and also when we visited our relatives in Ireland. The particular scent of a fire is so evocative.
    Years ago I went to the UK and planned on dropping in on some old family friends who’d been living there for years, and my mother made me take them a handful of gum leaves (eucalyptus leaves) as well as some other more normal gifts. I remember handing over the dried old leaves a bit diffidently but they were such a hit. They tossed a few into their little coal fire, and suddenly the little London flat smelled of the bush and home.

    Reply
  10. Oh, Cynthia I so remember the smell of a peat fire. We had them in Scotland and also when we visited our relatives in Ireland. The particular scent of a fire is so evocative.
    Years ago I went to the UK and planned on dropping in on some old family friends who’d been living there for years, and my mother made me take them a handful of gum leaves (eucalyptus leaves) as well as some other more normal gifts. I remember handing over the dried old leaves a bit diffidently but they were such a hit. They tossed a few into their little coal fire, and suddenly the little London flat smelled of the bush and home.

    Reply
  11. I grew up in an old Arts and Crafts Foursquare with an amazing Batchelder fireplace. Dad taught all us kids to make fires properly (paper, kindling, logs set with air space). Sadly, so many days are now “no burn days” with large tickets attached that we rarely get to use that beautiful fireplace.
    My own little bungalow has a VERY small fireplace, but the chimney needs work, so I’ve never used it. I’m thinking of having it switched over to gas so I can at least pretend to have a fire on chilly mornings.

    Reply
  12. I grew up in an old Arts and Crafts Foursquare with an amazing Batchelder fireplace. Dad taught all us kids to make fires properly (paper, kindling, logs set with air space). Sadly, so many days are now “no burn days” with large tickets attached that we rarely get to use that beautiful fireplace.
    My own little bungalow has a VERY small fireplace, but the chimney needs work, so I’ve never used it. I’m thinking of having it switched over to gas so I can at least pretend to have a fire on chilly mornings.

    Reply
  13. I grew up in an old Arts and Crafts Foursquare with an amazing Batchelder fireplace. Dad taught all us kids to make fires properly (paper, kindling, logs set with air space). Sadly, so many days are now “no burn days” with large tickets attached that we rarely get to use that beautiful fireplace.
    My own little bungalow has a VERY small fireplace, but the chimney needs work, so I’ve never used it. I’m thinking of having it switched over to gas so I can at least pretend to have a fire on chilly mornings.

    Reply
  14. I grew up in an old Arts and Crafts Foursquare with an amazing Batchelder fireplace. Dad taught all us kids to make fires properly (paper, kindling, logs set with air space). Sadly, so many days are now “no burn days” with large tickets attached that we rarely get to use that beautiful fireplace.
    My own little bungalow has a VERY small fireplace, but the chimney needs work, so I’ve never used it. I’m thinking of having it switched over to gas so I can at least pretend to have a fire on chilly mornings.

    Reply
  15. I grew up in an old Arts and Crafts Foursquare with an amazing Batchelder fireplace. Dad taught all us kids to make fires properly (paper, kindling, logs set with air space). Sadly, so many days are now “no burn days” with large tickets attached that we rarely get to use that beautiful fireplace.
    My own little bungalow has a VERY small fireplace, but the chimney needs work, so I’ve never used it. I’m thinking of having it switched over to gas so I can at least pretend to have a fire on chilly mornings.

    Reply
  16. We had a major windstorm here in July (our winter) and I was without power for more than 12 hours. The bliss of going over to a friend’s house where a roaring fire was going was wonderful. And we could cook!

    Reply
  17. We had a major windstorm here in July (our winter) and I was without power for more than 12 hours. The bliss of going over to a friend’s house where a roaring fire was going was wonderful. And we could cook!

    Reply
  18. We had a major windstorm here in July (our winter) and I was without power for more than 12 hours. The bliss of going over to a friend’s house where a roaring fire was going was wonderful. And we could cook!

    Reply
  19. We had a major windstorm here in July (our winter) and I was without power for more than 12 hours. The bliss of going over to a friend’s house where a roaring fire was going was wonderful. And we could cook!

    Reply
  20. We had a major windstorm here in July (our winter) and I was without power for more than 12 hours. The bliss of going over to a friend’s house where a roaring fire was going was wonderful. And we could cook!

    Reply
  21. Thanks for dropping by, Isobel. I hadn’t heard of a Batchelder fireplace before, so I googled it and found these wonderful images.
    http://tinyurl.com/7n6m7ql
    They look like lovely fireplaces to gather around.
    And I too learned to make a fire when I was young. It’s still such a pleasure for me. I remember one year I found instructions in an old book or magazine for making “paper spills” that people used to carry a light from one source to another –they were old pages folded in a long wand shape, and quite elegant looking, so that year I gave a bundle of carefully folded old paper to every adult for Christmas. In retrospect, they were quite a nice present, and very thrifty. LOL.

    Reply
  22. Thanks for dropping by, Isobel. I hadn’t heard of a Batchelder fireplace before, so I googled it and found these wonderful images.
    http://tinyurl.com/7n6m7ql
    They look like lovely fireplaces to gather around.
    And I too learned to make a fire when I was young. It’s still such a pleasure for me. I remember one year I found instructions in an old book or magazine for making “paper spills” that people used to carry a light from one source to another –they were old pages folded in a long wand shape, and quite elegant looking, so that year I gave a bundle of carefully folded old paper to every adult for Christmas. In retrospect, they were quite a nice present, and very thrifty. LOL.

    Reply
  23. Thanks for dropping by, Isobel. I hadn’t heard of a Batchelder fireplace before, so I googled it and found these wonderful images.
    http://tinyurl.com/7n6m7ql
    They look like lovely fireplaces to gather around.
    And I too learned to make a fire when I was young. It’s still such a pleasure for me. I remember one year I found instructions in an old book or magazine for making “paper spills” that people used to carry a light from one source to another –they were old pages folded in a long wand shape, and quite elegant looking, so that year I gave a bundle of carefully folded old paper to every adult for Christmas. In retrospect, they were quite a nice present, and very thrifty. LOL.

    Reply
  24. Thanks for dropping by, Isobel. I hadn’t heard of a Batchelder fireplace before, so I googled it and found these wonderful images.
    http://tinyurl.com/7n6m7ql
    They look like lovely fireplaces to gather around.
    And I too learned to make a fire when I was young. It’s still such a pleasure for me. I remember one year I found instructions in an old book or magazine for making “paper spills” that people used to carry a light from one source to another –they were old pages folded in a long wand shape, and quite elegant looking, so that year I gave a bundle of carefully folded old paper to every adult for Christmas. In retrospect, they were quite a nice present, and very thrifty. LOL.

    Reply
  25. Thanks for dropping by, Isobel. I hadn’t heard of a Batchelder fireplace before, so I googled it and found these wonderful images.
    http://tinyurl.com/7n6m7ql
    They look like lovely fireplaces to gather around.
    And I too learned to make a fire when I was young. It’s still such a pleasure for me. I remember one year I found instructions in an old book or magazine for making “paper spills” that people used to carry a light from one source to another –they were old pages folded in a long wand shape, and quite elegant looking, so that year I gave a bundle of carefully folded old paper to every adult for Christmas. In retrospect, they were quite a nice present, and very thrifty. LOL.

    Reply
  26. Keziah, I imagine having that fire turned a disaster into something of an adventure. When the convenient power we take for granted drops out it’s an instant reversion to the ways of the past. I remember when we had a gas disaster in my neck of the woods and had no gas for more than 10 days — that was in winter, too. We don’t get snow where I am, but those cold showers in the morning… Brrrracing wasn’t the word!

    Reply
  27. Keziah, I imagine having that fire turned a disaster into something of an adventure. When the convenient power we take for granted drops out it’s an instant reversion to the ways of the past. I remember when we had a gas disaster in my neck of the woods and had no gas for more than 10 days — that was in winter, too. We don’t get snow where I am, but those cold showers in the morning… Brrrracing wasn’t the word!

    Reply
  28. Keziah, I imagine having that fire turned a disaster into something of an adventure. When the convenient power we take for granted drops out it’s an instant reversion to the ways of the past. I remember when we had a gas disaster in my neck of the woods and had no gas for more than 10 days — that was in winter, too. We don’t get snow where I am, but those cold showers in the morning… Brrrracing wasn’t the word!

    Reply
  29. Keziah, I imagine having that fire turned a disaster into something of an adventure. When the convenient power we take for granted drops out it’s an instant reversion to the ways of the past. I remember when we had a gas disaster in my neck of the woods and had no gas for more than 10 days — that was in winter, too. We don’t get snow where I am, but those cold showers in the morning… Brrrracing wasn’t the word!

    Reply
  30. Keziah, I imagine having that fire turned a disaster into something of an adventure. When the convenient power we take for granted drops out it’s an instant reversion to the ways of the past. I remember when we had a gas disaster in my neck of the woods and had no gas for more than 10 days — that was in winter, too. We don’t get snow where I am, but those cold showers in the morning… Brrrracing wasn’t the word!

    Reply
  31. Yes we have a fireplace.
    It has been used for the last 20 years as the only source of heat for our house. Of coarse, in Southern California a whole lot of heat is not required…but is does get down near freezing in the wintertime.
    Your description is marvelous and right on.
    Thanks Ms Anne for the tip about Kerry Greenwoods’ books. Just read “Murder on the Ballarat Train”…excellent.

    Reply
  32. Yes we have a fireplace.
    It has been used for the last 20 years as the only source of heat for our house. Of coarse, in Southern California a whole lot of heat is not required…but is does get down near freezing in the wintertime.
    Your description is marvelous and right on.
    Thanks Ms Anne for the tip about Kerry Greenwoods’ books. Just read “Murder on the Ballarat Train”…excellent.

    Reply
  33. Yes we have a fireplace.
    It has been used for the last 20 years as the only source of heat for our house. Of coarse, in Southern California a whole lot of heat is not required…but is does get down near freezing in the wintertime.
    Your description is marvelous and right on.
    Thanks Ms Anne for the tip about Kerry Greenwoods’ books. Just read “Murder on the Ballarat Train”…excellent.

    Reply
  34. Yes we have a fireplace.
    It has been used for the last 20 years as the only source of heat for our house. Of coarse, in Southern California a whole lot of heat is not required…but is does get down near freezing in the wintertime.
    Your description is marvelous and right on.
    Thanks Ms Anne for the tip about Kerry Greenwoods’ books. Just read “Murder on the Ballarat Train”…excellent.

    Reply
  35. Yes we have a fireplace.
    It has been used for the last 20 years as the only source of heat for our house. Of coarse, in Southern California a whole lot of heat is not required…but is does get down near freezing in the wintertime.
    Your description is marvelous and right on.
    Thanks Ms Anne for the tip about Kerry Greenwoods’ books. Just read “Murder on the Ballarat Train”…excellent.

    Reply
  36. Hi Louis, I suspect the climate of Southern California is much like ours in Victoria. The old houses here were built more for staying cool, with wide, shady verandas, but we do get some chilly nights in winter, too, and in the country, some bitter frosts.
    When I was a little girl I’d put a saucer of water with flowers floating in it outside before I went to bed, and in the morning we’d have a frozen flower arrangement for the breakfast table.
    I’m so glad you liked Murder on the Ballarat Train, too. I hope the TV series with Phryne Fisher becomes available in the US. I have high hopes for it.

    Reply
  37. Hi Louis, I suspect the climate of Southern California is much like ours in Victoria. The old houses here were built more for staying cool, with wide, shady verandas, but we do get some chilly nights in winter, too, and in the country, some bitter frosts.
    When I was a little girl I’d put a saucer of water with flowers floating in it outside before I went to bed, and in the morning we’d have a frozen flower arrangement for the breakfast table.
    I’m so glad you liked Murder on the Ballarat Train, too. I hope the TV series with Phryne Fisher becomes available in the US. I have high hopes for it.

    Reply
  38. Hi Louis, I suspect the climate of Southern California is much like ours in Victoria. The old houses here were built more for staying cool, with wide, shady verandas, but we do get some chilly nights in winter, too, and in the country, some bitter frosts.
    When I was a little girl I’d put a saucer of water with flowers floating in it outside before I went to bed, and in the morning we’d have a frozen flower arrangement for the breakfast table.
    I’m so glad you liked Murder on the Ballarat Train, too. I hope the TV series with Phryne Fisher becomes available in the US. I have high hopes for it.

    Reply
  39. Hi Louis, I suspect the climate of Southern California is much like ours in Victoria. The old houses here were built more for staying cool, with wide, shady verandas, but we do get some chilly nights in winter, too, and in the country, some bitter frosts.
    When I was a little girl I’d put a saucer of water with flowers floating in it outside before I went to bed, and in the morning we’d have a frozen flower arrangement for the breakfast table.
    I’m so glad you liked Murder on the Ballarat Train, too. I hope the TV series with Phryne Fisher becomes available in the US. I have high hopes for it.

    Reply
  40. Hi Louis, I suspect the climate of Southern California is much like ours in Victoria. The old houses here were built more for staying cool, with wide, shady verandas, but we do get some chilly nights in winter, too, and in the country, some bitter frosts.
    When I was a little girl I’d put a saucer of water with flowers floating in it outside before I went to bed, and in the morning we’d have a frozen flower arrangement for the breakfast table.
    I’m so glad you liked Murder on the Ballarat Train, too. I hope the TV series with Phryne Fisher becomes available in the US. I have high hopes for it.

    Reply
  41. Evocative post, Anne. We used to have an open fire in our house in Norfolk and I love making a fire. Learned as a girl at home how to layer it all so that one match and it’s away.
    Feeling the need for a Phryne Fisher!

    Reply
  42. Evocative post, Anne. We used to have an open fire in our house in Norfolk and I love making a fire. Learned as a girl at home how to layer it all so that one match and it’s away.
    Feeling the need for a Phryne Fisher!

    Reply
  43. Evocative post, Anne. We used to have an open fire in our house in Norfolk and I love making a fire. Learned as a girl at home how to layer it all so that one match and it’s away.
    Feeling the need for a Phryne Fisher!

    Reply
  44. Evocative post, Anne. We used to have an open fire in our house in Norfolk and I love making a fire. Learned as a girl at home how to layer it all so that one match and it’s away.
    Feeling the need for a Phryne Fisher!

    Reply
  45. Evocative post, Anne. We used to have an open fire in our house in Norfolk and I love making a fire. Learned as a girl at home how to layer it all so that one match and it’s away.
    Feeling the need for a Phryne Fisher!

    Reply
  46. We have a wood fire in the lounge room, and we also have a wood fired stove in the kitchen. My husband still gets up each morning and lights the fire ready for the day (he is 76 and has Parkinsons). We need to light it because our hot water comes from the kitchen stove. It can be a pain having to get wood in the rain, but then we don’t have to pay the electricity company for our hot water. I really love wood fires.

    Reply
  47. We have a wood fire in the lounge room, and we also have a wood fired stove in the kitchen. My husband still gets up each morning and lights the fire ready for the day (he is 76 and has Parkinsons). We need to light it because our hot water comes from the kitchen stove. It can be a pain having to get wood in the rain, but then we don’t have to pay the electricity company for our hot water. I really love wood fires.

    Reply
  48. We have a wood fire in the lounge room, and we also have a wood fired stove in the kitchen. My husband still gets up each morning and lights the fire ready for the day (he is 76 and has Parkinsons). We need to light it because our hot water comes from the kitchen stove. It can be a pain having to get wood in the rain, but then we don’t have to pay the electricity company for our hot water. I really love wood fires.

    Reply
  49. We have a wood fire in the lounge room, and we also have a wood fired stove in the kitchen. My husband still gets up each morning and lights the fire ready for the day (he is 76 and has Parkinsons). We need to light it because our hot water comes from the kitchen stove. It can be a pain having to get wood in the rain, but then we don’t have to pay the electricity company for our hot water. I really love wood fires.

    Reply
  50. We have a wood fire in the lounge room, and we also have a wood fired stove in the kitchen. My husband still gets up each morning and lights the fire ready for the day (he is 76 and has Parkinsons). We need to light it because our hot water comes from the kitchen stove. It can be a pain having to get wood in the rain, but then we don’t have to pay the electricity company for our hot water. I really love wood fires.

    Reply
  51. I love log fires – used to stay in the New Forest with friends who had enormous fireplaces and flung small trees onto the blaze, or so it seemed to townie me. I can still smell them– fires, that is, not friends. Wonderful! Especially so if you’re sitting round warming your hands, telling stories and sipping a glass of, say, madeira . . .
    Lovely post, Anne. Thank you.

    Reply
  52. I love log fires – used to stay in the New Forest with friends who had enormous fireplaces and flung small trees onto the blaze, or so it seemed to townie me. I can still smell them– fires, that is, not friends. Wonderful! Especially so if you’re sitting round warming your hands, telling stories and sipping a glass of, say, madeira . . .
    Lovely post, Anne. Thank you.

    Reply
  53. I love log fires – used to stay in the New Forest with friends who had enormous fireplaces and flung small trees onto the blaze, or so it seemed to townie me. I can still smell them– fires, that is, not friends. Wonderful! Especially so if you’re sitting round warming your hands, telling stories and sipping a glass of, say, madeira . . .
    Lovely post, Anne. Thank you.

    Reply
  54. I love log fires – used to stay in the New Forest with friends who had enormous fireplaces and flung small trees onto the blaze, or so it seemed to townie me. I can still smell them– fires, that is, not friends. Wonderful! Especially so if you’re sitting round warming your hands, telling stories and sipping a glass of, say, madeira . . .
    Lovely post, Anne. Thank you.

    Reply
  55. I love log fires – used to stay in the New Forest with friends who had enormous fireplaces and flung small trees onto the blaze, or so it seemed to townie me. I can still smell them– fires, that is, not friends. Wonderful! Especially so if you’re sitting round warming your hands, telling stories and sipping a glass of, say, madeira . . .
    Lovely post, Anne. Thank you.

    Reply
  56. I am lucky enough to have a stove in my study, so when I am working in the winter I can open it up, throw on a couple of logs and curl up in front of it while I write. You are right, Anne, it helps the creativity! I even managed to write my Christmas story during last year’s harsh winter, so had lots of inspiration right outside my window and a fire blazing in the hearth. Bliss!

    Reply
  57. I am lucky enough to have a stove in my study, so when I am working in the winter I can open it up, throw on a couple of logs and curl up in front of it while I write. You are right, Anne, it helps the creativity! I even managed to write my Christmas story during last year’s harsh winter, so had lots of inspiration right outside my window and a fire blazing in the hearth. Bliss!

    Reply
  58. I am lucky enough to have a stove in my study, so when I am working in the winter I can open it up, throw on a couple of logs and curl up in front of it while I write. You are right, Anne, it helps the creativity! I even managed to write my Christmas story during last year’s harsh winter, so had lots of inspiration right outside my window and a fire blazing in the hearth. Bliss!

    Reply
  59. I am lucky enough to have a stove in my study, so when I am working in the winter I can open it up, throw on a couple of logs and curl up in front of it while I write. You are right, Anne, it helps the creativity! I even managed to write my Christmas story during last year’s harsh winter, so had lots of inspiration right outside my window and a fire blazing in the hearth. Bliss!

    Reply
  60. I am lucky enough to have a stove in my study, so when I am working in the winter I can open it up, throw on a couple of logs and curl up in front of it while I write. You are right, Anne, it helps the creativity! I even managed to write my Christmas story during last year’s harsh winter, so had lots of inspiration right outside my window and a fire blazing in the hearth. Bliss!

    Reply
  61. What a lovely post, Anne, and I am so looking forward to your January book.
    We have a woodburning stove in our early 19th century cottage and I adore sitting staring into the flames. I did not learn how to make a fire as a child so had to learn as an adult and am quite proud of my fire-building skills.
    I remember putting a scene in a book where all the guests in a grand house made an unseemly dash for the side of the dining room table facing the fire, regardless of where they were supposed to be seated. In so many huge houses I imagine it must have been perishingly cold if you were more than a few feet away from the fire.

    Reply
  62. What a lovely post, Anne, and I am so looking forward to your January book.
    We have a woodburning stove in our early 19th century cottage and I adore sitting staring into the flames. I did not learn how to make a fire as a child so had to learn as an adult and am quite proud of my fire-building skills.
    I remember putting a scene in a book where all the guests in a grand house made an unseemly dash for the side of the dining room table facing the fire, regardless of where they were supposed to be seated. In so many huge houses I imagine it must have been perishingly cold if you were more than a few feet away from the fire.

    Reply
  63. What a lovely post, Anne, and I am so looking forward to your January book.
    We have a woodburning stove in our early 19th century cottage and I adore sitting staring into the flames. I did not learn how to make a fire as a child so had to learn as an adult and am quite proud of my fire-building skills.
    I remember putting a scene in a book where all the guests in a grand house made an unseemly dash for the side of the dining room table facing the fire, regardless of where they were supposed to be seated. In so many huge houses I imagine it must have been perishingly cold if you were more than a few feet away from the fire.

    Reply
  64. What a lovely post, Anne, and I am so looking forward to your January book.
    We have a woodburning stove in our early 19th century cottage and I adore sitting staring into the flames. I did not learn how to make a fire as a child so had to learn as an adult and am quite proud of my fire-building skills.
    I remember putting a scene in a book where all the guests in a grand house made an unseemly dash for the side of the dining room table facing the fire, regardless of where they were supposed to be seated. In so many huge houses I imagine it must have been perishingly cold if you were more than a few feet away from the fire.

    Reply
  65. What a lovely post, Anne, and I am so looking forward to your January book.
    We have a woodburning stove in our early 19th century cottage and I adore sitting staring into the flames. I did not learn how to make a fire as a child so had to learn as an adult and am quite proud of my fire-building skills.
    I remember putting a scene in a book where all the guests in a grand house made an unseemly dash for the side of the dining room table facing the fire, regardless of where they were supposed to be seated. In so many huge houses I imagine it must have been perishingly cold if you were more than a few feet away from the fire.

    Reply
  66. I remember having to clean the grate out before building a fire – with twisted newspapers as starters.
    Toasting bread with the toasting fork – somehow I remember the toast being better than it is nowadays just toasted in a toaster.
    Mother had a Rayburn cooker in the kitchen, where there was always a kettle on the stove for tea whenever wanted. (She even hid a Sunday newspaper in the oven once as she did not want us girls to get it, the newspaper was serializing Lady Chatterley’s Lover,and of course not fit for us young girls – luckily it was summer and the Rayburn oven wasn’t being used)
    Ah! Memories of years ago.

    Reply
  67. I remember having to clean the grate out before building a fire – with twisted newspapers as starters.
    Toasting bread with the toasting fork – somehow I remember the toast being better than it is nowadays just toasted in a toaster.
    Mother had a Rayburn cooker in the kitchen, where there was always a kettle on the stove for tea whenever wanted. (She even hid a Sunday newspaper in the oven once as she did not want us girls to get it, the newspaper was serializing Lady Chatterley’s Lover,and of course not fit for us young girls – luckily it was summer and the Rayburn oven wasn’t being used)
    Ah! Memories of years ago.

    Reply
  68. I remember having to clean the grate out before building a fire – with twisted newspapers as starters.
    Toasting bread with the toasting fork – somehow I remember the toast being better than it is nowadays just toasted in a toaster.
    Mother had a Rayburn cooker in the kitchen, where there was always a kettle on the stove for tea whenever wanted. (She even hid a Sunday newspaper in the oven once as she did not want us girls to get it, the newspaper was serializing Lady Chatterley’s Lover,and of course not fit for us young girls – luckily it was summer and the Rayburn oven wasn’t being used)
    Ah! Memories of years ago.

    Reply
  69. I remember having to clean the grate out before building a fire – with twisted newspapers as starters.
    Toasting bread with the toasting fork – somehow I remember the toast being better than it is nowadays just toasted in a toaster.
    Mother had a Rayburn cooker in the kitchen, where there was always a kettle on the stove for tea whenever wanted. (She even hid a Sunday newspaper in the oven once as she did not want us girls to get it, the newspaper was serializing Lady Chatterley’s Lover,and of course not fit for us young girls – luckily it was summer and the Rayburn oven wasn’t being used)
    Ah! Memories of years ago.

    Reply
  70. I remember having to clean the grate out before building a fire – with twisted newspapers as starters.
    Toasting bread with the toasting fork – somehow I remember the toast being better than it is nowadays just toasted in a toaster.
    Mother had a Rayburn cooker in the kitchen, where there was always a kettle on the stove for tea whenever wanted. (She even hid a Sunday newspaper in the oven once as she did not want us girls to get it, the newspaper was serializing Lady Chatterley’s Lover,and of course not fit for us young girls – luckily it was summer and the Rayburn oven wasn’t being used)
    Ah! Memories of years ago.

    Reply
  71. Let’s be honest. I just want a place to make s’mores when I’m not camping, LOL!
    I forget that people outside the US won’t be familiar with the Arts and Crafts movement here (it followed the one in England, headed by William Morris). The bungalow style of house started here in California and then went nation wide. A first, historically. They’re really amazing, and I feel very lucky to have grown up in one and to own one now myself. My fireplace was ripped out and replaced at some point, and then the soft orange bricks were painted to look like red bricks (oh, the humanity!). Someday I’d love to re-do it with reproduction Batchelder tiles.

    Reply
  72. Let’s be honest. I just want a place to make s’mores when I’m not camping, LOL!
    I forget that people outside the US won’t be familiar with the Arts and Crafts movement here (it followed the one in England, headed by William Morris). The bungalow style of house started here in California and then went nation wide. A first, historically. They’re really amazing, and I feel very lucky to have grown up in one and to own one now myself. My fireplace was ripped out and replaced at some point, and then the soft orange bricks were painted to look like red bricks (oh, the humanity!). Someday I’d love to re-do it with reproduction Batchelder tiles.

    Reply
  73. Let’s be honest. I just want a place to make s’mores when I’m not camping, LOL!
    I forget that people outside the US won’t be familiar with the Arts and Crafts movement here (it followed the one in England, headed by William Morris). The bungalow style of house started here in California and then went nation wide. A first, historically. They’re really amazing, and I feel very lucky to have grown up in one and to own one now myself. My fireplace was ripped out and replaced at some point, and then the soft orange bricks were painted to look like red bricks (oh, the humanity!). Someday I’d love to re-do it with reproduction Batchelder tiles.

    Reply
  74. Let’s be honest. I just want a place to make s’mores when I’m not camping, LOL!
    I forget that people outside the US won’t be familiar with the Arts and Crafts movement here (it followed the one in England, headed by William Morris). The bungalow style of house started here in California and then went nation wide. A first, historically. They’re really amazing, and I feel very lucky to have grown up in one and to own one now myself. My fireplace was ripped out and replaced at some point, and then the soft orange bricks were painted to look like red bricks (oh, the humanity!). Someday I’d love to re-do it with reproduction Batchelder tiles.

    Reply
  75. Let’s be honest. I just want a place to make s’mores when I’m not camping, LOL!
    I forget that people outside the US won’t be familiar with the Arts and Crafts movement here (it followed the one in England, headed by William Morris). The bungalow style of house started here in California and then went nation wide. A first, historically. They’re really amazing, and I feel very lucky to have grown up in one and to own one now myself. My fireplace was ripped out and replaced at some point, and then the soft orange bricks were painted to look like red bricks (oh, the humanity!). Someday I’d love to re-do it with reproduction Batchelder tiles.

    Reply
  76. Liz, yes there’s such a feeling of achievement when you set a fire and all it takes is one match. I’ve seen people use half a box trying to get a fire going, and resorting to adding some flammable liquid.
    As for Phryne Fisher, I do recall that you’re a fan, and I’m sure you’ll be able to watch the TV adaption in the Uk. It starts here some time next year.

    Reply
  77. Liz, yes there’s such a feeling of achievement when you set a fire and all it takes is one match. I’ve seen people use half a box trying to get a fire going, and resorting to adding some flammable liquid.
    As for Phryne Fisher, I do recall that you’re a fan, and I’m sure you’ll be able to watch the TV adaption in the Uk. It starts here some time next year.

    Reply
  78. Liz, yes there’s such a feeling of achievement when you set a fire and all it takes is one match. I’ve seen people use half a box trying to get a fire going, and resorting to adding some flammable liquid.
    As for Phryne Fisher, I do recall that you’re a fan, and I’m sure you’ll be able to watch the TV adaption in the Uk. It starts here some time next year.

    Reply
  79. Liz, yes there’s such a feeling of achievement when you set a fire and all it takes is one match. I’ve seen people use half a box trying to get a fire going, and resorting to adding some flammable liquid.
    As for Phryne Fisher, I do recall that you’re a fan, and I’m sure you’ll be able to watch the TV adaption in the Uk. It starts here some time next year.

    Reply
  80. Liz, yes there’s such a feeling of achievement when you set a fire and all it takes is one match. I’ve seen people use half a box trying to get a fire going, and resorting to adding some flammable liquid.
    As for Phryne Fisher, I do recall that you’re a fan, and I’m sure you’ll be able to watch the TV adaption in the Uk. It starts here some time next year.

    Reply
  81. Jenny, when I was a kid we got all our hot water from the a fire, too. And for fuel we used to have a regular excursion to collect wood. It was an all day event, and was a collective effort with several families. We’d find fallen trees in the bush and the men would saw and chop and we kids would fetch and stack, and at some stage we’d stop for a barbecue or picnic. At the end of the day we’d have a large trailer piled high with wood and several families would be right for the winter.
    When I was a student, a friend and i minded a country friend’s house for a week in the winter holidays. My friend was a city girl through and through and used to central heating so she kept the fire going all night and day, and didn’t understand the need to conserve wood. So I spent most of the days down there collecting fuel, dragging logs up from the bush and chopping wood. It was strangely satisfying.

    Reply
  82. Jenny, when I was a kid we got all our hot water from the a fire, too. And for fuel we used to have a regular excursion to collect wood. It was an all day event, and was a collective effort with several families. We’d find fallen trees in the bush and the men would saw and chop and we kids would fetch and stack, and at some stage we’d stop for a barbecue or picnic. At the end of the day we’d have a large trailer piled high with wood and several families would be right for the winter.
    When I was a student, a friend and i minded a country friend’s house for a week in the winter holidays. My friend was a city girl through and through and used to central heating so she kept the fire going all night and day, and didn’t understand the need to conserve wood. So I spent most of the days down there collecting fuel, dragging logs up from the bush and chopping wood. It was strangely satisfying.

    Reply
  83. Jenny, when I was a kid we got all our hot water from the a fire, too. And for fuel we used to have a regular excursion to collect wood. It was an all day event, and was a collective effort with several families. We’d find fallen trees in the bush and the men would saw and chop and we kids would fetch and stack, and at some stage we’d stop for a barbecue or picnic. At the end of the day we’d have a large trailer piled high with wood and several families would be right for the winter.
    When I was a student, a friend and i minded a country friend’s house for a week in the winter holidays. My friend was a city girl through and through and used to central heating so she kept the fire going all night and day, and didn’t understand the need to conserve wood. So I spent most of the days down there collecting fuel, dragging logs up from the bush and chopping wood. It was strangely satisfying.

    Reply
  84. Jenny, when I was a kid we got all our hot water from the a fire, too. And for fuel we used to have a regular excursion to collect wood. It was an all day event, and was a collective effort with several families. We’d find fallen trees in the bush and the men would saw and chop and we kids would fetch and stack, and at some stage we’d stop for a barbecue or picnic. At the end of the day we’d have a large trailer piled high with wood and several families would be right for the winter.
    When I was a student, a friend and i minded a country friend’s house for a week in the winter holidays. My friend was a city girl through and through and used to central heating so she kept the fire going all night and day, and didn’t understand the need to conserve wood. So I spent most of the days down there collecting fuel, dragging logs up from the bush and chopping wood. It was strangely satisfying.

    Reply
  85. Jenny, when I was a kid we got all our hot water from the a fire, too. And for fuel we used to have a regular excursion to collect wood. It was an all day event, and was a collective effort with several families. We’d find fallen trees in the bush and the men would saw and chop and we kids would fetch and stack, and at some stage we’d stop for a barbecue or picnic. At the end of the day we’d have a large trailer piled high with wood and several families would be right for the winter.
    When I was a student, a friend and i minded a country friend’s house for a week in the winter holidays. My friend was a city girl through and through and used to central heating so she kept the fire going all night and day, and didn’t understand the need to conserve wood. So I spent most of the days down there collecting fuel, dragging logs up from the bush and chopping wood. It was strangely satisfying.

    Reply
  86. How wonderfully you capture the romance and primal attraction of a wood fire. I love them. Who doesn’t??? I have a fireplace now, though I’m often lazy and use the rolled sawdust logs.
    I loved your story of taking the eucalyptus leaves to Aussie exiled in London, and how they instantly created the sense of home. “I love a sunburnt country…”

    Reply
  87. How wonderfully you capture the romance and primal attraction of a wood fire. I love them. Who doesn’t??? I have a fireplace now, though I’m often lazy and use the rolled sawdust logs.
    I loved your story of taking the eucalyptus leaves to Aussie exiled in London, and how they instantly created the sense of home. “I love a sunburnt country…”

    Reply
  88. How wonderfully you capture the romance and primal attraction of a wood fire. I love them. Who doesn’t??? I have a fireplace now, though I’m often lazy and use the rolled sawdust logs.
    I loved your story of taking the eucalyptus leaves to Aussie exiled in London, and how they instantly created the sense of home. “I love a sunburnt country…”

    Reply
  89. How wonderfully you capture the romance and primal attraction of a wood fire. I love them. Who doesn’t??? I have a fireplace now, though I’m often lazy and use the rolled sawdust logs.
    I loved your story of taking the eucalyptus leaves to Aussie exiled in London, and how they instantly created the sense of home. “I love a sunburnt country…”

    Reply
  90. How wonderfully you capture the romance and primal attraction of a wood fire. I love them. Who doesn’t??? I have a fireplace now, though I’m often lazy and use the rolled sawdust logs.
    I loved your story of taking the eucalyptus leaves to Aussie exiled in London, and how they instantly created the sense of home. “I love a sunburnt country…”

    Reply
  91. Jenny H you’ve reminded me of the huge fireplace in a cabin we used to stay in near Bright, in the foothills of the mountains. The fragrance of the fire — they always were pine logs, coz Dad’s friend who owned the place was Austrian and had planted lots of spruce and pine. I also loved the scent of roasting chestnuts — there was a grove of huge chestnut trees at the end of the drive.
    Roasting chestnuts. Yummm.

    Reply
  92. Jenny H you’ve reminded me of the huge fireplace in a cabin we used to stay in near Bright, in the foothills of the mountains. The fragrance of the fire — they always were pine logs, coz Dad’s friend who owned the place was Austrian and had planted lots of spruce and pine. I also loved the scent of roasting chestnuts — there was a grove of huge chestnut trees at the end of the drive.
    Roasting chestnuts. Yummm.

    Reply
  93. Jenny H you’ve reminded me of the huge fireplace in a cabin we used to stay in near Bright, in the foothills of the mountains. The fragrance of the fire — they always were pine logs, coz Dad’s friend who owned the place was Austrian and had planted lots of spruce and pine. I also loved the scent of roasting chestnuts — there was a grove of huge chestnut trees at the end of the drive.
    Roasting chestnuts. Yummm.

    Reply
  94. Jenny H you’ve reminded me of the huge fireplace in a cabin we used to stay in near Bright, in the foothills of the mountains. The fragrance of the fire — they always were pine logs, coz Dad’s friend who owned the place was Austrian and had planted lots of spruce and pine. I also loved the scent of roasting chestnuts — there was a grove of huge chestnut trees at the end of the drive.
    Roasting chestnuts. Yummm.

    Reply
  95. Jenny H you’ve reminded me of the huge fireplace in a cabin we used to stay in near Bright, in the foothills of the mountains. The fragrance of the fire — they always were pine logs, coz Dad’s friend who owned the place was Austrian and had planted lots of spruce and pine. I also loved the scent of roasting chestnuts — there was a grove of huge chestnut trees at the end of the drive.
    Roasting chestnuts. Yummm.

    Reply
  96. Sarah, I’m envious of your fire in the study. I have a small strip electric heater under the desk. Not quite as lovely, I’m afraid, nor as inspiring.
    You know, all this talk of fires is making me think I’d like to get away and find a place with a fireplace, somewhere in a cold climate. Usually when I’m writing a winter or Christmas scene it’s hot here and the imagination has to work overtime.

    Reply
  97. Sarah, I’m envious of your fire in the study. I have a small strip electric heater under the desk. Not quite as lovely, I’m afraid, nor as inspiring.
    You know, all this talk of fires is making me think I’d like to get away and find a place with a fireplace, somewhere in a cold climate. Usually when I’m writing a winter or Christmas scene it’s hot here and the imagination has to work overtime.

    Reply
  98. Sarah, I’m envious of your fire in the study. I have a small strip electric heater under the desk. Not quite as lovely, I’m afraid, nor as inspiring.
    You know, all this talk of fires is making me think I’d like to get away and find a place with a fireplace, somewhere in a cold climate. Usually when I’m writing a winter or Christmas scene it’s hot here and the imagination has to work overtime.

    Reply
  99. Sarah, I’m envious of your fire in the study. I have a small strip electric heater under the desk. Not quite as lovely, I’m afraid, nor as inspiring.
    You know, all this talk of fires is making me think I’d like to get away and find a place with a fireplace, somewhere in a cold climate. Usually when I’m writing a winter or Christmas scene it’s hot here and the imagination has to work overtime.

    Reply
  100. Sarah, I’m envious of your fire in the study. I have a small strip electric heater under the desk. Not quite as lovely, I’m afraid, nor as inspiring.
    You know, all this talk of fires is making me think I’d like to get away and find a place with a fireplace, somewhere in a cold climate. Usually when I’m writing a winter or Christmas scene it’s hot here and the imagination has to work overtime.

    Reply
  101. Nicola, I’ve just ordered DESIRE and am looking forward to curling up with it soon.
    In several of the homes of my childhood (we moved a lot) we had a wood burning kitchen stove. In winter the kitchen was the heart of the home, and it was so cosy and nice, but in summer… phew! it got so hot. We ate a lot of salads. 🙂 In the old houses the kitchen was always out the back for this reason.

    Reply
  102. Nicola, I’ve just ordered DESIRE and am looking forward to curling up with it soon.
    In several of the homes of my childhood (we moved a lot) we had a wood burning kitchen stove. In winter the kitchen was the heart of the home, and it was so cosy and nice, but in summer… phew! it got so hot. We ate a lot of salads. 🙂 In the old houses the kitchen was always out the back for this reason.

    Reply
  103. Nicola, I’ve just ordered DESIRE and am looking forward to curling up with it soon.
    In several of the homes of my childhood (we moved a lot) we had a wood burning kitchen stove. In winter the kitchen was the heart of the home, and it was so cosy and nice, but in summer… phew! it got so hot. We ate a lot of salads. 🙂 In the old houses the kitchen was always out the back for this reason.

    Reply
  104. Nicola, I’ve just ordered DESIRE and am looking forward to curling up with it soon.
    In several of the homes of my childhood (we moved a lot) we had a wood burning kitchen stove. In winter the kitchen was the heart of the home, and it was so cosy and nice, but in summer… phew! it got so hot. We ate a lot of salads. 🙂 In the old houses the kitchen was always out the back for this reason.

    Reply
  105. Nicola, I’ve just ordered DESIRE and am looking forward to curling up with it soon.
    In several of the homes of my childhood (we moved a lot) we had a wood burning kitchen stove. In winter the kitchen was the heart of the home, and it was so cosy and nice, but in summer… phew! it got so hot. We ate a lot of salads. 🙂 In the old houses the kitchen was always out the back for this reason.

    Reply
  106. Sylvia, those twisted newspapers are very like what I referred to as “spills” And toast definitely does taste better when made over a fire. I think it’s the slightly burnt effect. Seriously, I’ve “toasted” bread directly on a gas jet (not a normal habit — I was desperate at the time) and it tasted better than done under the grill or in a toaster.
    In Greece, where we were living in the mountains, we had a stove even in the bedroom with a large pipe that took the smoke out. We used to dry our clothes on that pipe, but it took me a while to get the hang of it — for a while all my underwear had scorch marks. LOL

    Reply
  107. Sylvia, those twisted newspapers are very like what I referred to as “spills” And toast definitely does taste better when made over a fire. I think it’s the slightly burnt effect. Seriously, I’ve “toasted” bread directly on a gas jet (not a normal habit — I was desperate at the time) and it tasted better than done under the grill or in a toaster.
    In Greece, where we were living in the mountains, we had a stove even in the bedroom with a large pipe that took the smoke out. We used to dry our clothes on that pipe, but it took me a while to get the hang of it — for a while all my underwear had scorch marks. LOL

    Reply
  108. Sylvia, those twisted newspapers are very like what I referred to as “spills” And toast definitely does taste better when made over a fire. I think it’s the slightly burnt effect. Seriously, I’ve “toasted” bread directly on a gas jet (not a normal habit — I was desperate at the time) and it tasted better than done under the grill or in a toaster.
    In Greece, where we were living in the mountains, we had a stove even in the bedroom with a large pipe that took the smoke out. We used to dry our clothes on that pipe, but it took me a while to get the hang of it — for a while all my underwear had scorch marks. LOL

    Reply
  109. Sylvia, those twisted newspapers are very like what I referred to as “spills” And toast definitely does taste better when made over a fire. I think it’s the slightly burnt effect. Seriously, I’ve “toasted” bread directly on a gas jet (not a normal habit — I was desperate at the time) and it tasted better than done under the grill or in a toaster.
    In Greece, where we were living in the mountains, we had a stove even in the bedroom with a large pipe that took the smoke out. We used to dry our clothes on that pipe, but it took me a while to get the hang of it — for a while all my underwear had scorch marks. LOL

    Reply
  110. Sylvia, those twisted newspapers are very like what I referred to as “spills” And toast definitely does taste better when made over a fire. I think it’s the slightly burnt effect. Seriously, I’ve “toasted” bread directly on a gas jet (not a normal habit — I was desperate at the time) and it tasted better than done under the grill or in a toaster.
    In Greece, where we were living in the mountains, we had a stove even in the bedroom with a large pipe that took the smoke out. We used to dry our clothes on that pipe, but it took me a while to get the hang of it — for a while all my underwear had scorch marks. LOL

    Reply
  111. Isobel, the arts and craft movement came here from England, too, and though I’m not sure if we have Batchelder tiles, we certainly have William Morris wallpaper and fabrica and other features of the era.
    And what we call a bungalow in Australia is not what’s meant by people in the UK or US. In the Uk it means single story house, and that’s the most common style of house here — the quarter acre blocks of land and a 3 or 4 bedroom, single story house. A bungalow is a small, extra construction, usually just one room, separate from the house, cheaply built (often of sheet cement) as an extra bedroom. Often called the sleep-out.
    I remember feeling most indignant when some English friends kept referring to my house as a bungalow. “No,” I used to insist. “It’s a proper house!” LOL
    What I’ve never seen, made or eaten are s’mores.
    We used to toast crumpets and bread and marshmallows (though I prefer chestnuts) and also make jaffles on a fire, but never s’mores.

    Reply
  112. Isobel, the arts and craft movement came here from England, too, and though I’m not sure if we have Batchelder tiles, we certainly have William Morris wallpaper and fabrica and other features of the era.
    And what we call a bungalow in Australia is not what’s meant by people in the UK or US. In the Uk it means single story house, and that’s the most common style of house here — the quarter acre blocks of land and a 3 or 4 bedroom, single story house. A bungalow is a small, extra construction, usually just one room, separate from the house, cheaply built (often of sheet cement) as an extra bedroom. Often called the sleep-out.
    I remember feeling most indignant when some English friends kept referring to my house as a bungalow. “No,” I used to insist. “It’s a proper house!” LOL
    What I’ve never seen, made or eaten are s’mores.
    We used to toast crumpets and bread and marshmallows (though I prefer chestnuts) and also make jaffles on a fire, but never s’mores.

    Reply
  113. Isobel, the arts and craft movement came here from England, too, and though I’m not sure if we have Batchelder tiles, we certainly have William Morris wallpaper and fabrica and other features of the era.
    And what we call a bungalow in Australia is not what’s meant by people in the UK or US. In the Uk it means single story house, and that’s the most common style of house here — the quarter acre blocks of land and a 3 or 4 bedroom, single story house. A bungalow is a small, extra construction, usually just one room, separate from the house, cheaply built (often of sheet cement) as an extra bedroom. Often called the sleep-out.
    I remember feeling most indignant when some English friends kept referring to my house as a bungalow. “No,” I used to insist. “It’s a proper house!” LOL
    What I’ve never seen, made or eaten are s’mores.
    We used to toast crumpets and bread and marshmallows (though I prefer chestnuts) and also make jaffles on a fire, but never s’mores.

    Reply
  114. Isobel, the arts and craft movement came here from England, too, and though I’m not sure if we have Batchelder tiles, we certainly have William Morris wallpaper and fabrica and other features of the era.
    And what we call a bungalow in Australia is not what’s meant by people in the UK or US. In the Uk it means single story house, and that’s the most common style of house here — the quarter acre blocks of land and a 3 or 4 bedroom, single story house. A bungalow is a small, extra construction, usually just one room, separate from the house, cheaply built (often of sheet cement) as an extra bedroom. Often called the sleep-out.
    I remember feeling most indignant when some English friends kept referring to my house as a bungalow. “No,” I used to insist. “It’s a proper house!” LOL
    What I’ve never seen, made or eaten are s’mores.
    We used to toast crumpets and bread and marshmallows (though I prefer chestnuts) and also make jaffles on a fire, but never s’mores.

    Reply
  115. Isobel, the arts and craft movement came here from England, too, and though I’m not sure if we have Batchelder tiles, we certainly have William Morris wallpaper and fabrica and other features of the era.
    And what we call a bungalow in Australia is not what’s meant by people in the UK or US. In the Uk it means single story house, and that’s the most common style of house here — the quarter acre blocks of land and a 3 or 4 bedroom, single story house. A bungalow is a small, extra construction, usually just one room, separate from the house, cheaply built (often of sheet cement) as an extra bedroom. Often called the sleep-out.
    I remember feeling most indignant when some English friends kept referring to my house as a bungalow. “No,” I used to insist. “It’s a proper house!” LOL
    What I’ve never seen, made or eaten are s’mores.
    We used to toast crumpets and bread and marshmallows (though I prefer chestnuts) and also make jaffles on a fire, but never s’mores.

    Reply
  116. Actually I’ve just recalled that we do use the word bungalow for a whole house — what we call a Californian Bungalow, popular in the 30’s and 40’s.
    But if asked if we have a bungalow, most of us will assume you’re asking about a sleep-out.

    Reply
  117. Actually I’ve just recalled that we do use the word bungalow for a whole house — what we call a Californian Bungalow, popular in the 30’s and 40’s.
    But if asked if we have a bungalow, most of us will assume you’re asking about a sleep-out.

    Reply
  118. Actually I’ve just recalled that we do use the word bungalow for a whole house — what we call a Californian Bungalow, popular in the 30’s and 40’s.
    But if asked if we have a bungalow, most of us will assume you’re asking about a sleep-out.

    Reply
  119. Actually I’ve just recalled that we do use the word bungalow for a whole house — what we call a Californian Bungalow, popular in the 30’s and 40’s.
    But if asked if we have a bungalow, most of us will assume you’re asking about a sleep-out.

    Reply
  120. Actually I’ve just recalled that we do use the word bungalow for a whole house — what we call a Californian Bungalow, popular in the 30’s and 40’s.
    But if asked if we have a bungalow, most of us will assume you’re asking about a sleep-out.

    Reply
  121. S’mores are awesome! Graham crackers with a Hershey bar and a toasted, gooey marshmallow sandwiched inside. We’ll have to make them at RWA somehow…maybe I’ll bring my camp stove. *grin*

    Reply
  122. S’mores are awesome! Graham crackers with a Hershey bar and a toasted, gooey marshmallow sandwiched inside. We’ll have to make them at RWA somehow…maybe I’ll bring my camp stove. *grin*

    Reply
  123. S’mores are awesome! Graham crackers with a Hershey bar and a toasted, gooey marshmallow sandwiched inside. We’ll have to make them at RWA somehow…maybe I’ll bring my camp stove. *grin*

    Reply
  124. S’mores are awesome! Graham crackers with a Hershey bar and a toasted, gooey marshmallow sandwiched inside. We’ll have to make them at RWA somehow…maybe I’ll bring my camp stove. *grin*

    Reply
  125. S’mores are awesome! Graham crackers with a Hershey bar and a toasted, gooey marshmallow sandwiched inside. We’ll have to make them at RWA somehow…maybe I’ll bring my camp stove. *grin*

    Reply
  126. Bungalows started here in California around the turn of the 19th century and lasted up into the 40s when the Ranch took over in many places. The heyday was 1910-1930 though, if you lump the Storybook ones in with the others.

    Reply
  127. Bungalows started here in California around the turn of the 19th century and lasted up into the 40s when the Ranch took over in many places. The heyday was 1910-1930 though, if you lump the Storybook ones in with the others.

    Reply
  128. Bungalows started here in California around the turn of the 19th century and lasted up into the 40s when the Ranch took over in many places. The heyday was 1910-1930 though, if you lump the Storybook ones in with the others.

    Reply
  129. Bungalows started here in California around the turn of the 19th century and lasted up into the 40s when the Ranch took over in many places. The heyday was 1910-1930 though, if you lump the Storybook ones in with the others.

    Reply
  130. Bungalows started here in California around the turn of the 19th century and lasted up into the 40s when the Ranch took over in many places. The heyday was 1910-1930 though, if you lump the Storybook ones in with the others.

    Reply
  131. Thanks, Isobel, I’ve been looking them up too — it’s all very interesting. Our arts & crafts style houses started at the turn of the century, too, only because the Australian colonies federated in 1901, we call them Federation-style houses. However there is (apparently) a sub section of federation houses that are called arts and crafts homes and also some called bungalows that were before the California Bungalow that most aussies can identify. So there you go — nice to have learned something new.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federation_architecture

    Reply
  132. Thanks, Isobel, I’ve been looking them up too — it’s all very interesting. Our arts & crafts style houses started at the turn of the century, too, only because the Australian colonies federated in 1901, we call them Federation-style houses. However there is (apparently) a sub section of federation houses that are called arts and crafts homes and also some called bungalows that were before the California Bungalow that most aussies can identify. So there you go — nice to have learned something new.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federation_architecture

    Reply
  133. Thanks, Isobel, I’ve been looking them up too — it’s all very interesting. Our arts & crafts style houses started at the turn of the century, too, only because the Australian colonies federated in 1901, we call them Federation-style houses. However there is (apparently) a sub section of federation houses that are called arts and crafts homes and also some called bungalows that were before the California Bungalow that most aussies can identify. So there you go — nice to have learned something new.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federation_architecture

    Reply
  134. Thanks, Isobel, I’ve been looking them up too — it’s all very interesting. Our arts & crafts style houses started at the turn of the century, too, only because the Australian colonies federated in 1901, we call them Federation-style houses. However there is (apparently) a sub section of federation houses that are called arts and crafts homes and also some called bungalows that were before the California Bungalow that most aussies can identify. So there you go — nice to have learned something new.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federation_architecture

    Reply
  135. Thanks, Isobel, I’ve been looking them up too — it’s all very interesting. Our arts & crafts style houses started at the turn of the century, too, only because the Australian colonies federated in 1901, we call them Federation-style houses. However there is (apparently) a sub section of federation houses that are called arts and crafts homes and also some called bungalows that were before the California Bungalow that most aussies can identify. So there you go — nice to have learned something new.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federation_architecture

    Reply
  136. Tonight was the first cold night after a week of unseasonably warm weather that and your post made me long for a fireplace, Anne. I have never had a home with one but I stayed somewhere once that had it and I felt I could have happily slept on the floor right in front of it, that is how enthralled I was. I think I will have to settle for one of your books though 🙂

    Reply
  137. Tonight was the first cold night after a week of unseasonably warm weather that and your post made me long for a fireplace, Anne. I have never had a home with one but I stayed somewhere once that had it and I felt I could have happily slept on the floor right in front of it, that is how enthralled I was. I think I will have to settle for one of your books though 🙂

    Reply
  138. Tonight was the first cold night after a week of unseasonably warm weather that and your post made me long for a fireplace, Anne. I have never had a home with one but I stayed somewhere once that had it and I felt I could have happily slept on the floor right in front of it, that is how enthralled I was. I think I will have to settle for one of your books though 🙂

    Reply
  139. Tonight was the first cold night after a week of unseasonably warm weather that and your post made me long for a fireplace, Anne. I have never had a home with one but I stayed somewhere once that had it and I felt I could have happily slept on the floor right in front of it, that is how enthralled I was. I think I will have to settle for one of your books though 🙂

    Reply
  140. Tonight was the first cold night after a week of unseasonably warm weather that and your post made me long for a fireplace, Anne. I have never had a home with one but I stayed somewhere once that had it and I felt I could have happily slept on the floor right in front of it, that is how enthralled I was. I think I will have to settle for one of your books though 🙂

    Reply
  141. We had a coal-fired furnace when I was a kid. Ironically, my grandma banked the fire at night – she said my granddad never did it right (he had been a blacksmith!). The thing terrified me. Now, my neighbor has a small electric fireplace and I WANT ONE!!!

    Reply
  142. We had a coal-fired furnace when I was a kid. Ironically, my grandma banked the fire at night – she said my granddad never did it right (he had been a blacksmith!). The thing terrified me. Now, my neighbor has a small electric fireplace and I WANT ONE!!!

    Reply
  143. We had a coal-fired furnace when I was a kid. Ironically, my grandma banked the fire at night – she said my granddad never did it right (he had been a blacksmith!). The thing terrified me. Now, my neighbor has a small electric fireplace and I WANT ONE!!!

    Reply
  144. We had a coal-fired furnace when I was a kid. Ironically, my grandma banked the fire at night – she said my granddad never did it right (he had been a blacksmith!). The thing terrified me. Now, my neighbor has a small electric fireplace and I WANT ONE!!!

    Reply
  145. We had a coal-fired furnace when I was a kid. Ironically, my grandma banked the fire at night – she said my granddad never did it right (he had been a blacksmith!). The thing terrified me. Now, my neighbor has a small electric fireplace and I WANT ONE!!!

    Reply
  146. Thanks Artemesia. Loved the story of the blacksmith not being trusted to build a fire right. Horses for courses — LOL — the raging furnace or the domestic hearth.
    You reminded me of when I stayed with friends in North Wales many years ago — the lady of the house used to put the butter dish (covered) beside the hearth at night. That way the butter was spreadable in the morning for toast, whereas if she left it on the kitchen table, it would be too hard in the morning.

    Reply
  147. Thanks Artemesia. Loved the story of the blacksmith not being trusted to build a fire right. Horses for courses — LOL — the raging furnace or the domestic hearth.
    You reminded me of when I stayed with friends in North Wales many years ago — the lady of the house used to put the butter dish (covered) beside the hearth at night. That way the butter was spreadable in the morning for toast, whereas if she left it on the kitchen table, it would be too hard in the morning.

    Reply
  148. Thanks Artemesia. Loved the story of the blacksmith not being trusted to build a fire right. Horses for courses — LOL — the raging furnace or the domestic hearth.
    You reminded me of when I stayed with friends in North Wales many years ago — the lady of the house used to put the butter dish (covered) beside the hearth at night. That way the butter was spreadable in the morning for toast, whereas if she left it on the kitchen table, it would be too hard in the morning.

    Reply
  149. Thanks Artemesia. Loved the story of the blacksmith not being trusted to build a fire right. Horses for courses — LOL — the raging furnace or the domestic hearth.
    You reminded me of when I stayed with friends in North Wales many years ago — the lady of the house used to put the butter dish (covered) beside the hearth at night. That way the butter was spreadable in the morning for toast, whereas if she left it on the kitchen table, it would be too hard in the morning.

    Reply
  150. Thanks Artemesia. Loved the story of the blacksmith not being trusted to build a fire right. Horses for courses — LOL — the raging furnace or the domestic hearth.
    You reminded me of when I stayed with friends in North Wales many years ago — the lady of the house used to put the butter dish (covered) beside the hearth at night. That way the butter was spreadable in the morning for toast, whereas if she left it on the kitchen table, it would be too hard in the morning.

    Reply
  151. I grew up with coal fires, and even though I love the smell of a wood fire a coal one brings back the memories. Though a fire is lovely, it does present the difficulties mentioned, though. Someone has to keep getting the fuel, and managing the heat is tricky. So easy to bake on one side and freeze on the other!
    In Canada the Shaw TV network used a live fire loop as a placeholder over Christmas, and people started to leave in on. They demanded it next Christmas and soon you could buy the VCR or DVD. I’ve seen that since, but did it really start there?
    Jo

    Reply
  152. I grew up with coal fires, and even though I love the smell of a wood fire a coal one brings back the memories. Though a fire is lovely, it does present the difficulties mentioned, though. Someone has to keep getting the fuel, and managing the heat is tricky. So easy to bake on one side and freeze on the other!
    In Canada the Shaw TV network used a live fire loop as a placeholder over Christmas, and people started to leave in on. They demanded it next Christmas and soon you could buy the VCR or DVD. I’ve seen that since, but did it really start there?
    Jo

    Reply
  153. I grew up with coal fires, and even though I love the smell of a wood fire a coal one brings back the memories. Though a fire is lovely, it does present the difficulties mentioned, though. Someone has to keep getting the fuel, and managing the heat is tricky. So easy to bake on one side and freeze on the other!
    In Canada the Shaw TV network used a live fire loop as a placeholder over Christmas, and people started to leave in on. They demanded it next Christmas and soon you could buy the VCR or DVD. I’ve seen that since, but did it really start there?
    Jo

    Reply
  154. I grew up with coal fires, and even though I love the smell of a wood fire a coal one brings back the memories. Though a fire is lovely, it does present the difficulties mentioned, though. Someone has to keep getting the fuel, and managing the heat is tricky. So easy to bake on one side and freeze on the other!
    In Canada the Shaw TV network used a live fire loop as a placeholder over Christmas, and people started to leave in on. They demanded it next Christmas and soon you could buy the VCR or DVD. I’ve seen that since, but did it really start there?
    Jo

    Reply
  155. I grew up with coal fires, and even though I love the smell of a wood fire a coal one brings back the memories. Though a fire is lovely, it does present the difficulties mentioned, though. Someone has to keep getting the fuel, and managing the heat is tricky. So easy to bake on one side and freeze on the other!
    In Canada the Shaw TV network used a live fire loop as a placeholder over Christmas, and people started to leave in on. They demanded it next Christmas and soon you could buy the VCR or DVD. I’ve seen that since, but did it really start there?
    Jo

    Reply

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