In this modern world of central heating, it’s easy to dismiss the beautifully nostalgic feel that a real fire can create in your home.
For me, a fireplace takes me back to my grandparents’ home and reminds me of two wonderful memories…
Their mantelpiece was adorned with exquisite knick-knacks, immaculate ornaments and a beautiful fireplace clock. The fire was roasting, especially during winter.
The television was often on, but I was captivated by what my grandmother was talking to me about.
On this occasion, it was New Year’s Eve and she asked me if I’d seen the man with as many noses as there are days left in the year. I can’t remember how old I was at the time, but I was quick enough to know that there was only one day left of the year, so EVERY man would have had as many noses as there are days left in the year.
This, subsequently, led me to think that this was nonsense, as there could not be a man with 365 noses the next day – I can’t remember if it was a leap year or not.
My grandmother smiled as I told her this, at which point my mother gasped in a mock fashion and my father wore a face of sudden understanding.
‘Oh, yeah’ he muttered and smiled, before realising what he had done.
‘Do you mean to tell me that your little boy has worked out something in a few seconds and the answer’s only just dawned on you?’ my Grandmother said, grinning from ear to ear.
‘No’, my father said, a little too defensively.
‘I first told you that when you were probably his age’ my Grandfather suddenly announced, motioning towards me, ‘and your little one’s worked it out before you and you’re in your thirties’. At this, both he and my grandmother erupted into unadulterated laughter.
When it came to cold winter evenings, my grandfather would enjoy a small glass or a hot toddy by the fire.
After my grandmother had passed away, there was no one to complain about him buying expensive whisky, so he’d treat himself and only buy the best. However, there was one bottle he had in the kitchen cupboard for years and he never touched, always claiming to be saving it for a special occasion.
As we all got older and could legally drink, it would get to winter and, as we sat by their large fireplace, we’d enjoy either a small scotch and threat or a gorgeous hot toddy with premium whisky as the main ingredient. But, not the one from the cupboard. Never that one from the cupboard.
It still didn’t stop the drinks from being the perfect accompaniment to that roaring fire.
After a few years, my grandfather passed away and at his funeral - not long before Christmas - the whole family was in the house he and my grandmother had made their home for decades.
I cannot remember whose idea it was, but someone thought of opening that bottle in the kitchen cupboard and raising a toast to them both. We all agreed it would be a wonderful tribute.
Significantly, as it was Winter, the fire was ablaze. We each had a small glass of premium whisky poured for us. Raising them simultaneously, we proceeded to drink them simultaneously, only to quickly spit the contents out and groan simultaneously.
The premium whisky we had been told never to touch had been replaced by something not as delicious and it dawned on us that my grandfather must have drunk the whisky years before and, for his own entertainment, had filled the bottle up with vinegar.
We laugh every time we think about it.
I remember these memories of Christmas and New Year vividly and they are intrinsically linked to my grandparents’ fireplace. It serves as a beautiful backdrop to two of my favourite childhood memories.
Yes, central heating may have many benefits, but there’s something about a real fire - whether it comes from a fireplace, chiminea, wood-burning stove or log burner - that has its own style and brings stories like these a little more to life.
To create fireplace memories such as these, buy your Heat Logs here.