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Wednesday 8th November 2017
Wednesday 8th November 2017

Wednesday 8th November 2017

I have an axe!
My transformation from urban dweller with no clue to survivalist living off the land in a Post-Apocalyptic waste-land has begun.
We have real fires in our new house and although I am sure I will end up buying a lot of wood and coal, I live in the middle of nowhere and there are loads of trees and bits of wood lying around on the ground, so I fancy that I can pick a few bits up as I walk my dog. And so I need an axe to cut the free fuel down to size (but is it free if I have to expend so much energy to get it?) Also I can kill zombies with it.
I’ve never had an axe before and this is just a little one, not the kind of thing you’d swing to kill a wolf that had eaten and then somehow impersonated your grandmother, but it should be ok for chopping firewood.
I had a big pallet in the garage that I thought I could ask into kindling and gave it a bit of a go and got quite a few good splinters off it, but I realised that for a job like that I really need a crow bar. So I ordered one of those too. I have definitely changed.
I am delighted to have real fires. I loved bonfires and coal fires as a child, and remember watching a dancing fire in a fireplace on holiday on the Isle of Arran like it was a TV (I am sure there was no actual TV, in fact it was so long since I was a child that TV might not have been invented then) and enjoyed playing slightly risky games with plastic toy soldiers on the edges of the fires that my dad had in the garden. You have not know joy until you have napalmed a tiny depiction of a Nazi with a huge blob of burning, molten plastic. Come on, those Nazis deserved it. I was not a psychopath.
But anyway, getting my own fire is the equivalent childhood ambition to getting a dog. And eating a whole bar of chocolate. And having a fridge readily packed with beer that I can have whenever I want. Plus there is sometimes a bare lady in my bedroom and unbelievably I have got to the point where I am often blasé about it. (Don’t tell the wife etc, ha ha, I am funny)
It’s only taken me 40 years to achieve my childhood dreams
We have got our woodburner up and running (though annoyingly I managed to accidentally snap off the handle on the second day, but can just about still open and close it), but the fireplace at the heart of the house and is in the oldest part of the house, so people have been having fires there for over 300 years.
Annoyingly the previous owners decided to take the grate of the fire away with them, which seemed an odd (and churlish?) decision, giving it rather specifically fitted this one fireplace and was unlikely to work in another setting. But it means we need to find a new one, and the ready made ones are not the right size. So we popped out to the nearest metalworkers we could find in the area today to see if they could sort us out. Maybe, the bloke running it would be really rude, like the person who owned the antique place was supposed to be, and I could write a sitcom about him. I am just desperate to find something to write a sitcom about.
Sadly he was very friendly and polite and of no comedic value at all, but he seemed to be really ace at metalworking and had a team of metalworkers who seemed very relaxed and happy with their lives. I have not yet got to the DIY point where I can work metal (I can only partially destroy a pallet) and I hated wood and metalwork at school. But I did once do two days of temping in 1989 where I had to bend parts of some farm machinery into shape in a special machine. So I had an affinity with these artists.
I was kind of glad that the previous owners had taken the grate. It’s going to be fun to have our own one made. Though we didn’t have any great ideas for designs, but I am keen to see what they will come up with. And I liked them and their work very much. Soon I will join them, when I have worked my way up from axing and smashing and become proficient enough to make decorative gates out of metal. But for now, I will let them do their job, until I have got the necessary DIY skills. Should only take forty more years.

Great news. Chris Evans (not that one) has had his delivery of Christmas Emergency Questions books. Mine (the ones I need to sign and add extra questions to) are on their way. As long as I can get all the admin part of this done, all kickstarter backers should be getting their copies in good time for Christmas. Once we’ve got all that underway we will be putting some extra copies up for sale on gofasterstripe.
Annoyingly after careful proof reading, there turns out to be a grammatical error in the first sentence on the inside cover. Ah well.

RHLSTP with the multi-talented Rachel Parris is now up in usual places

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