Saturday, 29 June 2013

Tradition: and a New Prize

Each year that we have been out here I have lit up a pile of weeds (that are too virulent to compost -  eg ivy), prunings and other stuff flammable outdoors but not in an enclosed fire.  That is constrained to Winter months by bush fire risk and is often difficult to pick exactly the right day to avoid strong winds and/or dry periods.

The forecast for 29 June looked brilliant: not long after some good rain, light winds but not actually honking down with rain.  In fact there was slight drizzle in the morning making it even less likely that a frisky ember could light up the Shire.
The pile looked a bit damp, but I was optimistic that once I got it going it would generate enough heat to keep going. At 9:14 that was looking optimistic, even though I had gone for a Baden-Powell Prize by putting some kindling in there as well.  (OK, I had some paper rather than dry leaves to start it off, but I reckon any woodland in the UK would have as much waste paper as dry leaves, so I was just Being Flexible as well as Being Prepared!)
 Then I went for a West Newlands (the farm I worked on in England about 50 years ago) Prize.  Stick an old tyre - in this case a bike inner tube - under there and apply another match.  In terms of the BP Award an old tyre is justified in the same way as the paper!  By 9:28 we have lift-off.
 Yep, that got things going: in a way which might annoy the Butcher of Carbon Trading.

However eventually (by 9:50) I qualified for a Bishop Prize - given to those who generate a lot of hot air but shed little light.
This is the state of affairs by 10:00am.  The flames are about 75% of the way through the pile and looking good.
By noon things had really got consumed.
The drizzle had returned by noon, and apart from dampening down the ashes formed an interesting effect where the coalescing drops lined up on a climbing rose.  Check the magnification through the drops on top of the stem and the inverted image in the drips below.
Check the magnification through the drops on top of the stem and the inverted image in the drips below!

By noon on the next day there was not much left, but there was still warmth radiating from the ashes.

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