With the open fire eventually decommissioned for the summer it was time to do something about the empty grate. Somehow it makes the room seem cold. Not in a cooling way that might be desirable in this heat wave, but rather in a slightly desolate, abandoned way.

Usually I just fill it with some logs, but this year not only was the log pile depleted because we had fires much later in the year, but also those left were large and rather irregularly shaped which meant that they were hopeless for stacking.

So, the Sunday before last, I thought I’d use some cut branches that I had in the garden. This should only take half an hour I said to myself. Using a mix of Ash, Sycamore, Beech and Apple it ended up taking me nearly two hours (in the hot sun). No wonder really as there are at least 150 pieces. What has surprised me is that, even though most of the branches were cut some time ago, there has been quite a bit of shrinkage. Initially it was a snug fit, but you’ll notice quite a gap in this photo taken a week later. I’m going to have to cut some more – this could be a theme for the summer

Next year I think I’ll stockpile some bigger round pieces towards the end of the log burning season.