As we’re in February, I thought we might have a little recap: Well, we’ve got hot and cold running water (#2); we’ve got food in our bellies (#29); we’ve got a cheeky bottle of Shiraz (#28); we’ve got an indoor lavvy (#14); we’ve got a roof over our heads (#32); we’ve got a bathtub (#4); I’ve got my two little rascals (#1); and we’ve got music courtesy of Katell Keineg (#30). What are we missing? I know, a peat fire.
To be fair, any open fire is good. My step-da was a coal man, so I’m used to the smell of a roaring coal fire. But having lived a long while in Ireland, I’ve grown used to the smell of peat. It’s rich and earthy. It’s a bit like the open fire equivalent of a malt whiskey.
And no, it isn’t a fossil fuel. It’s actually renewable energy because it is made from decomposing plant life. It’s just a very, very slow form of renewable energy.
It burns up a lot quicker than coal, but then, it’s easier to light to get the fire going.
Here’s an old poem I wrote which features a peat fire.
WAITING FOR THE FIRE TO GO OUT.
© David Milligan-Croft
I remember a time,
When I couldn’t light a fire –
Coal or peat.
You always lit them:
Kneeling on the hearth rug,
Building it up
With sticks and firelighters,
And bits of screwed up paper.
Wiping your nose,
With the back of your hand,
So’s not to soot your face.
You’d sit a while,
Watching blankly, to see if it’d take hold.
Then you’d stand like a statue
Drawing it with a broadsheet.
I light them now.
I make a little castle with my peat briquettes,
Like it shows you on the firelighter box.
And I sit with my poker,
Staring into a space beyond the flames.
My hand burning. My face burning.
And I wait,
Until you go out.