Sunday, 1 May 2016


We have had a small wood burning stove for nearly two years and I am able to indulge my interest in fire and wood.  Both these themes will, I hope, be platforms for explorations in many directions as well as recording the nature of firewood and its relationship with man, or at least with me.

For instance I am reading Australian novelist Patrick White's book The Tree of Man a book of which I first had a copy in 1958.  In it there is a fine description of a bush fire in the fictional Durilgai area on the outskirts of Sydney.  Here he writes, for example the fighters had become not only exhausted but fascinated by the fire.  They stared into it, into the golden caverns that yawned and tunnelled through the framework of the bush.  Some were by now so apathetic and hollow they could have entered, to add their bones.  There were very few who did not succumb to the spell of the fire.  They were swayed by it, instead of it by them.  I too, like so many others, feel swayed by fire and how to control it but, in my case, I only look into the golden cavern of a wood burning stove.

In trying to find Durilgai on the Internet I came across mention of a piece of music by 20th C British composer John McCabe called Fire at Durilgai, an orchestral piece typical of the later part of his century with much drumwork and ringing of bells, as well as a section very reminiscent of part of Holst's Mars, the Bringer of War in his Planets Suite.  McCabe held a visiting professorship at the University of Melbourne so I assume he was familiar with the work of Patrick White and the south east Australian hinterland where the fictional fire took place

Anyway, here is a picture of our little wood burning stove at South View.  Where is that?  Just north of the village of Sedlescombe in East Sussex, UK.