The Joy of a Fireplace

There is something magical about having an open fireplace. The dancing of flames, the crackling and popping of wood being gradually eaten away, and the soft ebbing glow of coals dying in the darkness of a house in the claws of winter.

The warmth that a fire breathes is not just a warmth you can feel deep into your skin, but it’s also a warmth that chases away loneliness and pain. Something about having a fire going in my house keeps at bay all the things dark nights can sometimes bring about. It is a truly marvelous things, and I highly enjoy the wonderful pleasure of having an open fireplace.

It is a lot of work – I will admit to that.
Buying wood, chopping wood, constantly cleaning ash. It takes a good solid forty-five minutes to get everything ready before I can even start the fire.

That’s not mentioning the amount of time I spent in Summer preparing for Winter. I spent many hours preparing boxes, upon boxes of gathered sticks to use as kinderling and I am VERY glad I did. I have needed all of them to keep me going.

But you know what, when I walk into my shed and pick up another box I prepared in Summer, I smile to myself, so happy that I took the time and effort to be ready for the Winter.

I am sure it will not be forever. Perhaps someday I might get to busy to manage a fireplace – who knows – part of me actually hopes that will happen. But for now, I am so grateful to have the opportunity to enjoy such a simple, fulfilling pleasure that brings me so much joy.

Midnight. The fire is left to slowly fade. The cat is all that walks in the flickering light.

Spare Change

Today while out doing my usual weekly shop I was cornered by a well-meaning environmentalist seeking charity for their organisation. Usually I am able to walk right past them, but I made eye-contact…
I showed weakness…
I had to talk to her.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Australia, and I love our wildlife, but I’m very strapped for cash and the one charity I give to every month holds a special place in my heart. It always will.

What amused me, or…perhaps…what annoyed me, perplexed me, frustrated me…about this particular conversation with this lovely young lady, who really did mean well, was the same thing that gets to me every time I am cornered by the pop-up table charity booths in the malls and shopping centres.
Its their language, their use of particular words…

“It’s just a dollar a day…”

“Its just a dollar thirty a day!

“It’s just spare change.”

“It’s less then the price of a coffee!”

“You won’t miss a dollar, will you?!”

Just spare change…
You won’t miss spare change, will you?
Well. That’s interesting you should say that…
I have never considered the coins in my purse spare change. Nor my dollar coins something I toss away without very serious consideration. My family might this is amusing, considering I am someone who is a collector, who spends money on things that they would deem to be ‘useless’, but truthfully, I have not been able to afford an item to collect in a long, long time. I simply enjoy admiring the ones I have and rewatch the shows I do own. There are far, far more important things to spend money on…
Living for example.
Or saving up for a wardrobe.

I recall when I was around six, or maybe seven…around that age at least, we had not yet moved to Adelaide so it was before I was ten…
We came down to Adelaide and we brought a Nintendo Sixty-Four. This was a HUGE BIG DEAL for us. My older brother and I had saved up for our Nintendo Sixty-Four, we were SO proud. I carried my giant jar of five cent coins with me into the shop, and I just recall the utter thrill that I was buying something with my money, that I have saved up, all by myself.
When we reached the counter, the checkout girl scanned the Nintendo and looked to my mother, who presented my brother and I to her. My brother dumped his coin box on the counter and I gave my giant jar of five cent coins to him to slid on over as well. She smiled at us both, likely thinking us as adorable and cute as we must have been, I’m sure, and I have to give her credit…she counted all those five cent coins. Every-single-one-of-them.
Twenty dollars. I had twenty dollars in five cent coins.
Yeah. I was rich.
No idea how much my brother had (more then me, for sure.)
I can’t even recall how much a Nintendo Sixty-Four cost back then, but I am sure it was a lot more than twenty bucks, so likely Mum paid for most of it. (Thanks Mum, many hours of Bowser slaying was spent on that Nintendo…)
However, the lesson I had learnt very early on, was the worth behind spare change.

It was a couple years ago that I started collecting the change in my purse, at the end of each week, and putting it all aside into a ‘piggy bank’ when that piggy bank filled up I would take it down to the bank and have them sort it and file it into my account. I collected 100 dollar coins once.
(Hopefully I’ll have enough for a wardrobe soon.)

I suppose my issue is, when I am asked to hand over my credit card details and then told that I won’t miss a dollar a day, I almost laugh.
Do they think I’m that stupid? That naive? — or do they think I’m that rich? One dollar a day turns into thirty a month, add that to the rest of the bills you are required to pay every month, it adds up and it KEEPS adding up.
So, yes…frankly…I will miss my spare change, because I no longer have change to spare.

I collect every penny.