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A Parable of The Millennial Son and the Wood Burning Stove

We have just returned from a very enjoyable holiday on the west coast of Scotland where we stayed in a charming old cottage equipped with a wood burning stove. The nights were chilly and logs were plentiful so I set the fire and lit it.

It must be at least thirty years since I lit a proper fire in a grate but it was like falling off a log (no pun intended), with the Ovoids and logs quickly creating a very pleasant warmth throughout the evening, and the water heated. Coming in from the log store outside the smell of burning wood mixed with garlic from the kitchen was almost intoxicating. There was a hope that the wood smoke might also keep the midges at bay but that was less successful.

Anyhow, after the first weekend our son joined us and was intrigued by the log burner. I showed him how to set the fire but he had already found something online, and apparently I was doing it all wrong!

Predictably, by Tuesday evening I had been made redundant as our son set about preparing the fire, with tinder in one hand and iPhone in the other. Before we knew it photographs had been taken, Facebook statuses uploaded and the fire lit. All seemed well at first but after about five minutes the flames died out and the stove went cold.

'Has the fire gone out?' we asked. 'Think so' came the reply. 'What went wrong then?' I enquired. 'I dunno, you can do it next time'.

Now I always thought that fire lighting was one of those innate functions hard wired into our DNA from stone age times, but it seems Google, Siri and the internet have changed all that. Indeed there seem to be several valuable lessons to be learned here:
  • Regardless of experience, millennials always know better, especially when they have Google on their side;

  • You cannot rely on everything you read online;

  • An iPhone doesn't keep you warm for very long;

  • Being made redundant by a millennial is rarely the end of one's duties.

How often have similar things happened in industry I wonder?
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Re: A Parable of The Millennial Son and the Wood Burning Stove

Youngsters have always known best, Nigel, we have to accept that. When I moved north in 2002 the house I rented only had a couple of pretty useless electric storage heaters and an open-grate fireplace with a back boiler, so I had to learn to drive that. Fortunately, like riding a bike, I hadn't lost the skill I'd acquired as a youth. My present house has four open fireplaces, one of which has a multi-fuel stove. I think I rather over-specified the stove as the living room can reach 30C if I'm not careful!

Remember the old adage though, build a man a fire and he'll be warm for a day; set a man on fire and he'll be warm for life. (Don't try this at home )
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Re: A Parable of The Millennial Son and the Wood Burning Stove

Familiar story, or at least the first paragraph about remembering how to do it. We’ve rented a couple of holiday cottages in colder months and have enjoyed the log burners. Simple to get (and keep!) going. Like you Nigel I’d have thought it was hard wired into our DNA. I’m amazed that someone has even bothered to do a video for YouTube of how to light a fire! Well, anyone other than perhaps Ray Mears who seems obsessed with lighting one up wherever he might be.
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Re: A Parable of The Millennial Son and the Wood Burning Stove

Very shortly (in the near future) lighting and enjoying the heat from an open fire will be the equivalent of pornography as the clean air anti pollution gestapo will have made it a forbidden experience with pain of death.
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Re: A Parable of The Millennial Son and the Wood Burning Stove

What if we use pornography to light the fire?
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Re: A Parable of The Millennial Son and the Wood Burning Stove

Photos of these wonderful fireplaces please. In my hot hot wet country, we can only dream of such fireplaces. Read wonderful stories and nursery rhymes of families sitting around the fireplace.
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Re: A Parable of The Millennial Son and the Wood Burning Stove

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Originally Posted by Naughty Nigel View Post
but after about five minutes the flames died out and the stove went cold
We have a multi-fuel stove and an open fireplace and tend to keep them going virtually every day from October to April, 212 days, sometimes each being lit around 6:00 and again early evening, so probably about 600 times they need cleaning out, lighting and feeding.

Plus there's the log collecting, chainsawing, stacking, splitting, taking delivery of truckloads of pallets (friend works at builders merchant) to cut for kindling, replenishing fuel baskets morning and evening, etc. But our heating bills are extremely low.

And somebody gives up after 5 minutes?
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Re: A Parable of The Millennial Son and the Wood Burning Stove

I'm sure that it's the millennials who are responsible for engineering Windows10,
and other mindless software that gets obsessively updated for no other reason
than to make life tough for their tribal elders, forcing them onto the bowling green.
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Re: A Parable of The Millennial Son and the Wood Burning Stove

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Plus there's the log collecting, chainsawing, stacking, splitting, taking delivery of truckloads of pallets (friend works at builders merchant) to cut for kindling, replenishing fuel baskets morning and evening, etc.
My sister always says that wood warms you twice - the first time when you collect and prepare it and the second when you burn it!

I burn ovoids on mine which the local coal merchant sells at £14 per 50kg bag, delivered, which I think is much better value than logs given the amount of heat they produce. Logs seem to burn through in five minutes.
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Re: A Parable of The Millennial Son and the Wood Burning Stove

TimP ...you made me laugh out loud at your quick comment, my sense of humour that..after scrolling down to read the comments about lighting a fire..

More to the point I was lighting fires when I was 10 years old as that was all we had in the house and can still light a good fire now!!

Google...!! knows nothing as Basil once said to Fawlty...

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Re: A Parable of The Millennial Son and the Wood Burning Stove

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More to the point I was lighting fires when I was 10 years old as that was all we had in the house and can still light a good fire
Same here, especially the bit where you held an open broadsheet newspaper over the entire fireplace to let the fire ‘draw’ (?). More than once I watched Dad have to let go of the paper as it went strangely brown in the centre then burst into flames before freedom came up the chimney. Thankfully we never had a chimney fire.
Something very satisfying about lighting a fire whether it’s outdoors, in an old fashioned fireplace or in a modern log burner.
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Re: A Parable of The Millennial Son and the Wood Burning Stove

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My sister always says that wood warms you twice - the first time when you collect and prepare it and the second when you burn it!

I burn ovoids on mine which the local coal merchant sells at £14 per 50kg bag, delivered, which I think is much better value than logs given the amount of heat they produce. Logs seem to burn through in five minutes.

I get all my logs for free, but when I say logs, it's trees, so I need to buy petrol and chainsaw oil.


£14 per 50kg bag delivered is a good price. We've previously bought stove nuts from Wickes when buy 2 get 1 free + used a 20 % off voucher, and stocked up again earlier this year buying from Lidl + using vouchers from newspapers. Think it worked out at 5x 10Kg bags for £12, and we only used one 10 10Kg bag over the winter as we only tend to burn coal when it's 'beast from the east' type weather. When I was young we were only allowed to put an electric fire on if there was ice on the inside of the windows! (And that was before my parents installed central heating).

P.S. All money saved has been spent on new photography gear.
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Re: A Parable of The Millennial Son and the Wood Burning Stove

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Same here, especially the bit where you held an open broadsheet newspaper over the entire fireplace to let the fire ‘draw’ (?). More than once I watched Dad have to let go of the paper as it went strangely brown in the centre then burst into flames before freedom came up the chimney. Thankfully we never had a chimney fire.
.
Unfortunately, my FiL had the good idea of using his greasy fish and chip wrapping papers to get their fire going, and they went up into their chimney and caused a fire.
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Re: A Parable of The Millennial Son and the Wood Burning Stove

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When I was young we were only allowed to put an electric fire on if there was ice on the inside of the windows!
Sounds familiar. My bedroom was above the garage too so no warmth from below. We did get central heating eventually but that was solid-fuel fired so had a tendency to go out.

"And you try and tell the young people that today and they'll not believe you" - courtesy Monty Python's Four Yorkshiremen sketch .
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Re: A Parable of The Millennial Son and the Wood Burning Stove

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Sounds familiar. My bedroom was above the garage too so no warmth from below. We did get central heating eventually but that was solid-fuel fired so had a tendency to go out.

"And you try and tell the young people that today and they'll not believe you" - courtesy Monty Python's Four Yorkshiremen sketch .

And we were chasticised for using our fingertips to make smiley faces in the ice on the inside of the window glass, for drawing attention to how flippin cold it was indoors.
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