You know he loves you when

(Catharine Higginson) #1

Now the rain has stopped, we are busy ‘faireing le bois’. To the uninitiated, i.e. those of you who live in houses with central heating, this means frantic chopping and stacking of wood in an attempt to keep warm over the winter months.

Just doing the wood works well enough. After a couple of sweaty hours lugging logs around the garden, there’s no need to light the fire; we are quite warm enough. And, there’s no way that I’m going to develop bingo wings anytime soon. As the eldest pointed out yesterday whilst pushing a laden wheel barrow through deep mud, ‘Jesus Mum, you could open this place as a fat farm. There’s no way people would fail to lose weight here’. She has a point.

Never having had our own bit of woodland before, we are rapidly learning about wood. What will burn, what won’t, what needs felling…and just how much time it takes.

Still at least it is a cheap form of heating and given our current financial situation, cheap is good in my book. With Christmas approaching, I am desperately racking my brains for present ideas that won’t cost a fortune. Last year we (the royal we obviously) spent hours making the most fantastic art deco dolls house for the girls and an enormous Action Man camp for the boy. Action man’s camp came complete with watch tower, anti-tank defenses, a sentry post and (hand sewn with love by yours truly) sand-bags. The husband and his ex-SAS buddy got very into the design and creation of this work of art, painting everything in arctic cammo colours and adding Action Man sized bullet holes to the sentry post. I banned them from building an interrogation suite though and convinced them to make a hospital tent instead. The theory being that then the son could develop his nurturing, caring side as well as his small boy blood lust. Ha! What actually happened was that he stole his sisters Bratz doll and left her in the tent to ‘do sex’ with the Action Men. I can only hope it was consensual.

There is no chance of such home made delights this year. The husband is too busy trying to rebuild the real house. Last night we spent a quality hour together in the dark. I was holding the torch whilst he wielded a pair of snips and cut off the latest piece of dodgy live wiring before the kids could be electrocuted. Who says romance is dead?

(Roger Thomas) #2

Wood, if you are new to the game dont pay any more than 35 Euros for a metre cube delivered of split dry Oak, less for the (much) less efficient soft and fruit woods.

(Roger Thomas) #3

Ah trench foot, happy days but you are a little too south for realism, Invest in a brush cutter with great big teeth for the brambles, it also acts as a deterent against overly stroppy kids!!! or if you are very green borrow a goat or two.

(Catharine Higginson) #4

Thanks for the advice - we’ve caved in and bought some! There is plenty of seasoned wood but its a case of cutting down brambles to get through to get at it in places and since the torrential rain began, the earthworks that had been started have turned a large part of the land into a swamp. There are mud filled trenches all over the place and even the Land Rover can’t get through. Still I could rent the place out as a location for WW1 films. And use the kids as extras. They have probably all got trench foot by now anyway.

(Roger Thomas) #5

Old Woodland? Dont forget to burn the fallen boughs/uprooted trees first. Newly felled wood should be kept and stacked cut into one meter lengths for at least 3 years under cover to dry out, as for quality, The harder the wood the better the burn or for simple souls like me -Oak good- pine bad. sympathise about the wheelbarrow of logs, eventually learnt that the trailer will tow behind the Mower with the addition of a ball hitch and all mud must be bannished by means of calcaire…Simple!!!