Yesterday I mentioned in passing that I was having a nice leisurely day.
Herself was quick enough to put an end to that.
I also touched on the fact that it was pissing out of the heavens.
"It's a miserable evening" says she, "why don't we light a grand turf fire in the front room?"
"Yiz are always moaning" says she. "It's just a matter of throwing a few sticks in."
What I had remembered and she had forgotten was that we had a family lodging in our chimney earlier in the year. So the problem lay in the simple fact that far from throwing a few sticks in to light a small fire, it was more a case of removing half a tree before I could even start.
I reluctantly went in to examine the fireplace. Sure enough, the throat above the hearth was blocked solid with twigs and small branches. I gave them a tug and half a ton of tree and soot came cascading out onto the sitting room carpet. I thought it might be an idea to get out some old sheets.
I spread the sheets over the floor on top of the stuff that had fallen out and rammed my arm up the chimney. More fucking twigs and branches. This was going to be a big job. I got out the rods.
I rammed the brush up the chimney and it promptly got stuck at the three foot mark. I jiggled it furiously and more crap came down in an avalanche of pine cones, larch with a touch of beech, not to mention more soot. After a lot of sweat I finally got it up far enough to attach another rod. I was now at the six foot mark and still stuck.
Herself came into the room to see what all the crashing, banging and swearing was about.
"What the fuck?" she screeched. "I only asked you to light the fire and I come in to find this mess. And what the fuck are you doing with our best sheets?"
I explained that I could indeed have lit the fire as she had requested but pointed out that there would have been two consequences. First of all the room would fill with smoke as the chimney was well and truly choked, and the other was that all that lovely dry wood that was choking the chimney would inevitably catch fire and would produce a blaze that would produce a flame like a space shuttle on full launch thrust and that we would be lucky if even the foundations survived the blaze.
She left the room in a huff.
It took me over an hour of brute force, patience and very strong language. Branches continued to cascade onto the floor. Soot overflowed off the hearth onto what I now know were our best sheets. I eventually saw the cheerful sight of the brush sticking out of the chimney and waving gently in the rain. I removed two very large sacks and a bucket of twigs which are enough kindling for a couple of years, or maybe enough to build a new tree. There was also a considerable quantity of sheep's wool though no sign of a sheep, unless he's still stuck up there.
I had to admire the persistence of a bird who would carry one twig at a time and drop it down a black hole until all twenty seven feet [or nine rods] was full enough to build a nest on top. I'll kill him if he tries again next spring though.
I didn't have the energy to clear up the mess in the front room so I just left it so the place looks like a war zone.
I didn't have the energy either to light the fire.
Anyway the rain had stopped and she was quite content to forgo the idea of a turf fire and was happily playing on Farcebook..