Skip to main content

Ten things to consider when having a bonfire

Autumn - season of Halloween, Guy Fawkes and bonfires.So essentially a couple of months devoted to burning things.

When having a garden bonfire, there are a few rules one should observe -

  • never light one before the farmer has harvested the crop on the other side of the fence
  • avoid days when the wind would blow the smoke into the neighbours gardens or the road
  • never turn your back on it
  • and only burn things that were once growing. Leaves for example ...




Then there are the ten things to consider that if considered and acted upon make having a bonfire easy -

1. Don't embark upon bonfire building without friends. And a bench. Not for burning! For resting on. I can't remember when I last had time to sit in the garden, nor when I last wanted to sit in the garden and the bench wasn't covered in bird droppings.





2. The more friends, the merrier.





3. Wear a polo-neck jumper or a scarf. Because if you do the sparks can't fly into the gaping hood of your hoodie, bypass your open collar and burn your neck.

4. Build a fire break. It's best to do this before lighting the fire. If you do it after lighting the fire, you end up racing against time and smoke and sparks (!) to prevent the fire spreading into the to-burn pile.

As the picture shows - pile-to-burn on right, rapidly cleared fire break through the centre and bonfire on left ... already burning. Hmmm ...




5. When burnt on the neck, pretend that nothing has happened. You don't want anyone to think that you're a complete idiot.

6. And you don't want to frighten the dogs, although they are so busy gorging themselves on the rotting wood from the base of the to-burn pile that they probably wouldn't have noticed any wild flapping and shouting of 'Ouch!'

7. Arrange for the delivery of refreshments - mobile phones are a great way to order coffee. And emollient for burns.

8. Smile at Bertie Baggins who eating a tasty stick and lacking a table opts to use his uncle's head instead.




9. Take all day - it's Autumn; the leaves are damp; the bonfire is slow and smokey. Your lungs need a rest and you need lots of hot water for serial showers (no-one likes to sit next to someone who smells like a kipper). There are plenty of other things to do and fruit to stir and Christmas wishes have to be made. I know, I know - it was stir-up Sunday last weekend, but the Christmas cake is better late than never (last year was a never that I will never live down - the Christmas of 2012: the one without a cake!)




10. (and 11!) Stamping is necessary. A lot of stamping. And careful excavation of the to-burn pile. No-one wants to throw a hedgehog on the fire. Nor murder the mouse that ran into this cave at the base of the bonfire. Funny that - worry about chewed wires and housefires means that we are perfectly happy to trap mice inside the house, but the thought of a little mouse trapped in a bonfire brought my burning activities to an end. (He was still alive when I left ... )




Um .. I never could count. Ten things to consider here becomes eleven. Aside from the negative aspects of your carbon footprint, having a bonfire is a therapeutic activity - it's clearing, getting rid of the garden clutter, burning away the spores of diseased leaves, and a physical workout. And at the end of the day ...




... consider that it was a good one ( ... if a bit hot in places!)


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

#2019 Connections, characters and a stone ball.

Half-way into January. A small step into a new year. And I am another year older. How did this happen?

I could answer part of that by reminding myself that as I was born in January and have just had a birthday I am a year older. But half-way into January (over half-way now - several days have passed since I started this blog) and a small step into a New Year; how did these happen?

Time doesn’t stand still. I've said that before. In November's blog. I called it out as a cliche then too. It is. But if cliches can be good and I think this is a good one. Time is animated. Time moves. I wittered on about this at length. In November. Two months ago. Two months filled with frantic present hunting; over-eating; over-spending; under-sleeping; and wrapping (always late on Christmas eve - so late that I risk Father Christmas finding me sitting on the floor surrounded by paper and string - the sellotape always runs out at about 11.57pm on Christmas Eve, doesn't it? - hot chocolate insul…

On finding paddles and taking a long procrasti-ramble up an idiom

Lord Byron - that maverick, troubled thinker and poet - said

If I do not write to empty my mind, I go mad
I haven't written for a while. Perhaps I have gone mad.

Indeed, perhaps I have ...

Perhaps the whimsy that is the word jumble in my head resides in Aristophanes's cloud-cuckoo land. Either there, or perhaps it has flown away with the Celtic fairies of my youth. Don't you just love a good idiom?

Idiom - derivation: probably from the Greek idioma meaning private or peculiar phraseology (ref. Oxford Dictionaries online); definition: a group of words that when presented in a particular order take on a meaning that is not obvious from the meanings of the individual words eg. over the moon, on the ball, piece of cake, hit the sack, let the cat out of the bag, and method in my madness ... which there is. But mine is innocent; not the murderous method of Hamlet's madness. And if you'll give me the benefit of the doubt, I'll cut to the chase and deliver the goods as …

Life in a time of covid-19 - part 11: earth day and apples

I have posted an i-phone photograph of the sunrise, on Instagram, every morning, for the past 22 days. And I am exhausted. But not so exhausted that I am tempted to stop. Not yet. Small things give purpose to the day. Particularly, when day after day we are in lockdown and the world looks more different than we could ever have imagined. There is something anchoring in seeing the sunrise. Maybe, it harks back to a deeply-rooted instinct that looks to the sun for reassurance. Maybe, it is my way of finding a constant - if the sun rises then I can too. I can begin my day.


The coronavirus has altered the world we live in, but the earth hasn't changed. Or has it?

Arguably, the earth has changed -
Across the industrialised world, industry has shut down and commuting to work has all but ceased. As a result, pollution levels have collapsed. The WHO estimates that the smog caused by air pollution kills over 1.5 million people a year in India. Now the air is so clear that the Himalayas can …