Mariah selfishly taking off back home to America has seen me left to fend for myself. I mean, it was a full week before I realized that the fridge didn’t miraculously replenish itself when it was emptied of produce, and I’m still getting the hang of laundry a month later.
Turns out that after all these years, when someone says they “need to go number two”, what they really mean is that they want to do a quick spot of laundry. It’s amazingly simple: You insert the clothes, add your floral detergent, close the lid and flush five or six times. Bam. Good as new.
I had a lot of trouble getting a fire started, at first. Having a handy relative (thanks mum!) to light it for you doesn’t foster quite the skills needed to manage a successful fire. However, as poor Ned used to say, winter is coming; a man has to adapt or freeze to death. Or possibly be eaten by his cats. The looks that I catch them giving me when they think I’m distracted are worrying.
As I learned through blood, sweat, tears and a ten pm phone call home, you start off with a block of firelighters wrapped in a sheet of newspaper. Atop this you loosely pile kindling.
Light said wrapper of newspaper. The fire should take hold and the kindling ignite. Once the kindling has really taken off, I spread it out a little, add coal and top it off with a few more sticks of kindling.
Keep a careful eye on the fire and continuously blow on it to keep fresh air circulating.
Once the fire has really taken, I start to add alternate layers of coal, blocks of wood and coal again.
If you do it all right, you will have a jolly, cat-approved fire roasting your toes (and melting the soles of your three euro shoes).