Saturday, 29 November 2014

Our woodburner - a love - hate - love relationship!

Posted by Rosie

OK, so the autumn has been very mild here in Normandy, but not mild enough not to have some form of heating in the house ... and for us that means the woodburner.  It is our only form of heating and warms pretty much the whole house.*  We love it ....

But with any loving relationship there do come those moments when love flees for a while.  You know, that time you come in wet and cold, go to light the fire and realise you have no wood, and the outdoor wood store near the house is empty and the other store is round the corner in an unlit area.  There's no choice - you put coat and boots again, search for head torch and off you go!  Or there's no kindling and spare wood for that is stored in the turkey shed right over the other side of the property ... so that is when you try to light the fire with paper, the smallest log you can find, a Camembert box and cardboard from the recycling ... which of course fails.  So there's no choice - you put coat and boots again, search for head torch again and off you go, this time to the turkey shed and then the workshop to find a billhook and spend the next 5 minutes chopping kindling by torchlight and hoping you don't miss!  We won't mention either, the time wasted reading the newspapers that should be being scrunched up to start the fire or the times the fire won't light - or the mess the ash can make .... no because actually none of these can anywhere near offset the advantages of having a woodburner.

A woodburner that serves so many purposes:

The woddburner working hard for us

I have already mentioned it heats the whole house - it also heats various pets, including some who really should be outside cats!

Poppy, Henry and Saari keeping warm

It dries our clothes - Simon made one of those wonderful overhead clothes pulley things and with wet washing above a roaring fire, it is dry in no time.  No need for an energy-gobbling tumble drier here.

We can cook on it - stews that might otherwise have to go in the electric oven can simmer quite happily on the top of the woodburner and stocks can simmer for hours without using the gas hob.

We can boil a kettle on it - with our hard water this hot water is not the best for making a nice cup of tea but it's great for using as hot water for washing up.

Power cuts might mean no TV, lights or internet but our woodburner keeps us warm, we can still have hot food/drinks and even some light if is really roaring!

The original woodburner that was here when we moved in did not have a hot plate on it but being smaller we could pull hot ashes out onto the hearth and with a special little grill thingy we bought we could cook fish over the hot embers.  I suppose if we found a metal tray we could still do the same thing with this woodburner.

Cooking mackerel on embers from the woodburner

Yes - the woodburner can be a pain at times but overall it is something we all love and would never be without.  Do you have a woodburner or would you like one?

*Actually we do have an oil-filled radiator as a back-up which we only use if we have friends staying in the loft room in winter where it does stay rather chilly and if we are away for a few days and the forecast is for freezing temperatures.  To be honest, though - I can't remember when we last used it.


  1. I would love to have a wood burner like yours, it is beautiful and so useful though I am unsure if I would want it to be the heat for the house. I would never be able to chop wood, I've tried when we are camping, and with my arthritis, I'm totally useless, though I'm sure my husband would make sure the pile of wood was high for me.

    1. Simon chops our wood and has a snazzy chopping tool that goes on the back of the digger! I do like chopping kindling though!

  2. Never knew you could cook on one! I'm hoping to bash out a yucky gas fire in our front room and put a wood burner in next year. Can't wait :)

    1. If they have a hot plate yet - you can't on the one in the gite but we chose this one for us so you could. There are some fabulous wood fired ranges too such as Esse Ironheart but the one I really like is too big for our fireplace.

  3. I'm reading this sitting by our lit wood burner, it just changes the feel of the whole room. It's the best thing we bought and we save on heating bills too.

    1. Could not agree more - such a welcoming warmth that central heating can never give.

  4. Can't believe Henry is still posset footing the boards!! Such a great picture of the pets.
    How's Poppy doing?

    1. Full of small lumps and looking old but still up to stealing dog food out of the bag when I leave the door open and dashing round the valley fields a like a mad thing!


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