“So you just want me to pop by and feed her each day?” I asked, naively.
“What?!” my mother exclaimed, “and leave her in the cold?! Don’t be ridiculous. You’ll have to stay here and keep the fire going.”
So since Sunday I have been dutifully tending to feline needs and attempting to maintain my mum’s coal fire. The problem is, I’ve been living with a diesel fire for over seven years, which requires basically no attention. Coal fires, on the other hand, are like demanding children.
The other day, I slept in too late (and was, incidentally, five hours late for work. No idea how I’m still employed). This additional five hours’ of sleep meant that the coal fire had pretty much extinguished itself, with only a vague orange glow at the bottom to suggest any kind of heat ever emanated from it.
I wrapped myself up in a thick coat, grunted sleepily at my snoozing cat, and went outside to forage for dry twigs. Yes, in 21st century Britain, some people are still foraging for tinder.
I try to pretend I’m in Game of Thrones, or alternatively Lord of the Rings (please refrain from making any suggestions as to which character I’d be), but the rustic image is ruined slightly when I shove some paraffin-soaked firelighters in amongst the coals.
Eventually I got the fire started, and by the time I returned home it was flickering away nicely. Success!
“I could totally survive in the wilderness”, I told the cat, triumphantly.
She gave me a disdainful look, but I like to think that’s just her face.