How a wood burning stove has made me reflective

wood burning stove, heat, central heating, warmth, relfections on family life.

Our glorious wood burning stove. Chopping logs to keep this thing going has made me think about those with much bigger problems.

 

Immediately after writing this blog post, I will be taking action to ensure my family does not freeze. This will involve going outside and chopping logs for our wood burning stove.

It’s become a part of my early morning routine. Some days I’ve been so desperate to get the fire lit I’ve gone outside while still wearing my night clothes and dressing gown and started splitting logs. That must be quite an amusing sight for the neighbours.

No, I’m not forcing my family to live some kind of survivalist fantasy. It’s a bit more serious than that. Our central heating stopped working about a week ago and, with the exception of a power shower, it took our hot water supply with it. With the weather having just turned and become uncomfortably cold, I’m spending a lot of time outside wielding an axe simply to keep the house warm.

I say house, in truth all the wood burning stove can do is keep the living room warm. Thank goodness we’ve got it though. If we didn’t have that stove then we couldn’t even keep one room at a comfortable temperature.

We installed the stove when we moved into the house as a nice to have. It was worth every penny. This is the second time in five years we’ve experienced a major boiler failure and found ourselves relying on it for heat.

You’re probably thinking we should just get the problem fixed. There’s an added complication to this scenario.

A large building project is about to get underway in our family home. We’re bringing down a spine wall so that we can have a new, open-plan kitchen / diner installed. The work is set to get underway in a few weeks and would involve re-routing a lot of pipework. It makes no financial sense to spend several hundred pounds on repairs when the central system is going to be upgraded anyway. For now we have to limp on as we are.

The kids are coping very well with the situation. They aren’t too keen on having showers, so we’ve invented the bower. You put the plug in the bath and let the shower run so it gets a few centimetres of warm water in the bottom. So long as the shower keeps running, they’re happy to jump in and wash. For some reason they think bathing in this way this is great fun.

The kids are sleeping under two duvets and several blankets. Mrs Adams and I have hauled an electric blanket out of semi-retirement, making our bed time more tolerable.

In among all this, I find myself feeling a certain sense of guilt. Chopping logs, cleaning up the ashes and having to boil water for the washing up takes a surprising amount of effort. After a week of living this way, I’ve come to realise and appreciate just how much we rely on modern conveniences such as hot water on demand or having a thermostat that you can flick up or down as you see fit.

As I’m outside, chopping logs I find my thoughts drifting off and thinking about the homeless or refugees fleeing Syria and elsewhere. Compared to what they’re facing, this family is experiencing a tiny inconvenience.

For many reasons life is incredibly busy for me right now. This experience, irritating though it is, has forced me to stop and evaluate just how lucky my family and I are. I’m not simply grateful to the wood burning stove for providing heat. I’m glad it’s made me stop and think. It’s something we should all do from time to time.

The Twinkle Diaries

 

And then the fun began...

 

 

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20 Comments

  1. Kaye
    November 24, 2015 / 6:28 am

    Glad you have that stove, I bet it’s providing some much needed heat and you’re right, sometimes we need to just stop and think how fortunate we really are when we get bogged down by little things. #twinklytuesday

  2. November 24, 2015 / 11:15 am

    We do undoubtedly take so much for granted nowadays (and I am beginning to sound more like my mother every day!) I bet you secretly love getting out and chopping wood though – will be a great way to de-stress once the builders arrive!

  3. November 24, 2015 / 5:20 pm

    What a nuisance just as the cold snap set in! I like that you are staying positive and this experience is kind of rewarding you with an insight into all the things we all normally take for granted. I feel so terribly sorry for homeless people – I cannot imagine how dreadful it must be. Thanks for linking up to #thetruthabout

  4. Claire
    November 24, 2015 / 7:11 pm

    Oh no! What rotten timing – hot water never goes out in the middle of summer, does it?! Sounds as though you’re managing well – and things like that do put everything in perspective.

    • John Adams
      Author
      November 26, 2015 / 10:48 am

      Odd how it has bought things into perspective actually! And no, these things never happen in summer.

  5. November 24, 2015 / 8:48 pm

    I reckon for kids this is kind of like an adventure! I used to quite like something new at home and snuggling under a mound of blankets is so awesome to get warm. Must be a nightmare to deal with for you guys though and thank goodness for that wood burner. Cosy eh? xx #thetruthabout

    • John Adams
      Author
      November 26, 2015 / 10:47 am

      Yeah, the kids think it’s a bit of an adventure. My wife needs some persuasion this is the case.

  6. November 24, 2015 / 8:50 pm

    This is nice. It’s like your morning meditation. My husband is on at me to get one and for some reason it didn’t occur to me that it would need logs (clues in the name). I’m having second thoughts now…

    • John Adams
      Author
      November 26, 2015 / 10:47 am

      Yes Charlene, a wood burning stove does need logs (or pellets / heat logs). If tending to a log pile isn’t your kind of thing, perhaps not for you. But they are fantastic.

  7. November 24, 2015 / 9:49 pm

    I was so intrigued by the title of this post! Especially as I have a wood burner too, and love it almost equally to my children…! But I can see just how easy it is to take everything we have in life for granted. I always think this when a major appliance breaks down. This has made me look at my wood burner and stop and think again!
    I love that your children were having a ‘bower,’ really made me chuckle! My 2 are both scared of the shower, and don’t think they’d entertain a bower either!
    #twinklytuesday

    • John Adams
      Author
      November 26, 2015 / 10:45 am

      I am very glad we got the burner. It is amazing and, yes, the kids do love a “bower”.

  8. November 25, 2015 / 7:37 am

    What awesome memories you are creating for the kids with this no heat experience. I’ve lived with only a wood stove for cooking, heating and bath water. It’s certainly interesting and it’s also quite surprising how easy it is to forgot how much extra work it all is when everything is back on instant supply again.

    • John Adams
      Author
      November 26, 2015 / 10:43 am

      Yeah, it is a bit of heard work but I think the kids kind of like it.

  9. November 26, 2015 / 2:38 am

    About three years ago we installed a wood pellet stove in our house after going back and forth between wood burning vs. pellet burning. Having to chop and haul wood through the freezing cold was a major factor in our decision to go with the pellet stove! Though it’s a lot of work, I’m glad you have it now when you need it.

    • John Adams
      Author
      November 26, 2015 / 10:31 am

      Well, I only have to chop the wood because we installed a very small one. If we’d known we’d end up in this situation from time to time I’d have proposed getting a bigger one capable of handling bigger logs.

  10. November 28, 2015 / 5:30 am

    I’ve always wanted one of those! But yes, not too keen on the log-chopping effort. A friend of mine moved from city life in the UK to a farm in NZ a few years ago. He actually chops down the trees from which he gets the logs! I’d find it enough of an effort going to just buy bags of the damned things! So good on you for suffering through the cold. Brrrrrrrr. Yep, we have it easy compared to so many others. #TheTruthAbout

  11. November 29, 2015 / 7:19 pm

    bet you’re thankful you decided to have the stove fitted in the first place, can’t you job lot split up some logs early evening so they’re ready for the morning?

  12. November 30, 2015 / 10:29 am

    Bad timing indeed. I’m loving the ‘Bower’ though. I can see that working very well. These instances do remind us how fortunate we are and what we take for granted. There is nothing worse than jumping into the shower on a cold morning and realising the boiler is out! #twinklytuesday

  13. May 12, 2017 / 6:08 am

    A woodburning stove is great for realiability​. They won’t let you down in a power cut or storm etc so can be a real life saver.

    Just ensure its maintained well by ensuring any wearing parts are replaced and it will easily give you 10 years plus of heat 🙂

  14. November 30, 2017 / 10:12 pm

    Great article, wood burning stoves take you back to a more simple time and they let you get your hands dirty which is always a good thing! And the latest wood burning stoves are incredibly efficient beasts!