Staying warm-5th March 2022

“Sparky” the wood burner

When we moved to this house, there was no wood burner in the massive old inglenook hearth of this funny old house. It was largely as it always had been- an open fire with smoke escaping up into an opening, four foot by three foot, at the bottom of the chimney.  When the fire was not in use, we could lift up a hinged metal plate and slot it’s big bolts into the stonework to stop up the hole a bit- a refinement that we had not noticed for the first three months or so that we were here! We were heating the street.

We moved in at the end of February, into this house built in about 1733, a house that had never had any sort of central heating. I don’t think I had ever been so cold in my life but I rather loved it. Being cold makes you really appreciate being warm again.

We found an eccentric specialist local heating firm who came and designed a system based on oil and the two man team crawled all over the place and into some very tight spaces, installing pipe work and radiators.  The designer was a sort of genius, years ahead of his time. We still don’t really understand how the heating controls work, 22 years later.

After a time, we were able to add this wonderful boiler stove to the system. Made by the same designer, it links up with the heating system and when the fire is on, it takes over from the oil boiler and runs all the radiators. It was originally built to run on coal but does an very efficient job with wood. We got it for a few reasons-

  • It is so much more efficient than an open fire
  • It is a true focal point for the room
  • We would not be totally dependent on oil

Strangely, our village has no access to gas so that was never an option. We wanted to feel more fuel secure and, when we had it put in, we also felt we were being more “green” by burning a renewable resource such as wood. We thought that about the “green” diesel VW cars we were driving then, too.


It seems the thing we can most rely on in this life is change. Things change. Always. There is no point trying to pin anything down as you will be disappointed. Just know it is going to happen and try to be ready to move with it.

We learn now that burning wood releases particles that are just as damaging to lungs as diesel fumes. Insert appropriate emoji here.

So, I don’t know where we go in future to stay warm. I have tried to think ahead and bought some woolen thermals. They are really lovely and they work beautifully. I am still glad we are not dependent on just oil and, given where the world is just now, I was right about that much.

For the first 267 years of its life, this house, and the people who live in it, survived without central heating.  I guess we will all figure out a new way as we go forward.

Subscribe below to receive my posts as they are published. Buttons provided further down for liking, sharing and/or contacting me. Thanks!

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: