My Grandma always had a coal range for warmth and cooking. She’d get up at the crack of dawn, stoke the fire from the night before or light it fresh then settle into her chair in the kitchen to read The Southland Times or the Bible.
Staying at Grandma’s, we always tried to beat her up in the morning. I did once and the house was cold and lonely – there was nobody reading or ready to make porridge and it wasn’t at all what I’d hoped for.
Today I worked at home so this morning I got up and lit the fire. I cleaned out the days of old ash, hauled in more firewood and set about getting the house warm. I really enjoy this task because it reminds me of Grandma getting her own home warm in the mornings and I always feel country-ish. I like to imagine that I don’t need to work and that my days tasks will involve craft and printmaking with maybe a touch of gardening.
After I quit my job at Te Papa in 2005 I had contract work for about three months. It was a time of great freedom, good meals every night and well kept lawns and gardens. The only thing it didn’t have was a fire.