Build a fire

April 8th, 2008

So tonight, for the first time in a good few months, I have the heater on. Bowie has assumed his position on top of the puffy blue couch, right in the line of fire for the best, mind-numbing heat. He looks toward the reverse cycle unit on the wall with his eyes half closed, like he’s on some sort of heat drug. What is it about cats and heaters?

I wish I had some GOOD heat. I don’t want to be freezing, but on the other hand I’m not keen on this dry, headachy heat blowing out of my wall. I usually drive myself mad with the turning on and turning off of the damn thing, because if it’s off I’m cold, and if it’s on I have a headache. And it makes my skin dry out and my hair go funny. I have the same kind of air conditioning unit in my office at work and it drives me mad – the only saving grace there is I don’t share my office, so at least I don’t drive anyone else mad with my on off on off.

I do have one of those bar oil heaters – the heat from those seems to be a little less offensive. Problem with that is the way this house is built – all open, with archways and what not, and no doors to close to keep the heat in. There’s no way one of those little things is going to do the job. I really love COSY rooms. I mean, there’s definitely something to be said about open plan living arrangements, but to snuggle under a blanket in a cosy little room in front of a fire or a heater is one of the Good Things.

The house I grew up in had a wood fire. It’s still there – the very same one. The fan went on it many years ago, and it was only in the last 12 months dad got it fixed again. I just LOVE the heat from a wood fire. It’s pure and fierce and natural and very non-environmentally friendly. When we were little, in the middle of winter we’d get out of the bath and run into the lounge room to get into our pyjamas in front of the fire. I remember mum drying us down, trying to get us close enough to keep warm but not close enough to burn ourselves. She was always the worst one for that – she had a pink dressing gown with scorch marks all over the back from literally sitting on top of the fire. I remember feeling the grit on the carpet beneath my feet – when your 7 year old feet are soft and wet and warm they are going to pick up every wood chip or piece of grit on the floor.

Wood fires smell so good too. The building next door to work has one, and when I leave the office (this week usually just as the sun is going down, owing to daylight savings kicking in) you can smell it on the air. And it’s just the most wonderful smell – the acrid smoke combined with the damp, autumnal earth and nearly dark air. Every April I take a breath of that in and decide that autumn is my favourite time of year.

Also, just so you know, the perfect soundtrack to the onset of autumn is the National. I’m listening to Alligator tonight for the first time since probably January, and holy cow.

Baby, come over, I need entertaining
I had a stilted, pretending day
Lay me down and say something pretty
Lay me back down where I wanted to stay
Just say something perfect, something I can steal
Say, look at me
Baby, we’ll be fine
All we’ve gotta do is be brave and be kind

Sigh.


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