Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Heating the house

We had a rotten summer over here in Cantal, a splendid September/October and now, instead of going through a peaceful automn, nature kickstarted winter time.

Low peaks were -9°C and my wife clamours for winter tyres on her car (Its my job to fix them). Global warming is bypassing us and has been replaced by something I would call global chaos weather.

The entire house is heated by wood, the electric wall heaters are only for emergency use or in the bathroom, in the morning.

The main idea of this text is to pay homage to the kind of heating generated by oak logs. The place is warm but it is NOT the warmth you get from a central heating system.

This warmth is like a winter kiss, gentle and firm. Wood heat radiates right through you and those everchanging flames behind the glass wall makes you feel splendid. In fact, the feeling is difficult to explain, like colour to a blind.

Here is a photo of our insert and I hope everybody appreciates those drying babushkas on top. They are the cherry on the cake.

Late in the evening, I let the fire die out. In order to achieve this I shift all the burning stuff in the middle and that gives rise to a kind of small size fireworks.

I am so glad we have this instead of the central heating system I knew all my life in Berlin, Brussels and Paris.


  1. Bonjour! Nice and it's been many yrs since I've been around a wood fire in a house.

    This house we purchased 2 yrs ago was built in the 20s, and used oil to heat it then. That oil contraption is still in our basement.

    We have a newer, energy efficient boiler. We were told we should get rid of the boiler, but didn't. Heats better and our bill is the cheapest we've had in winter since moving to the midwest.

    Stay warm! Cheers!

  2. "Global warming is bypassing us"

    Well, I don't buy the "Global warming" at all, I remember 20 years ago in America the Global cooling was the big topic! So, what happened?

  3. Hi Georg,

    Your fire place brought back memories of my childhood of which a few years were spent in Shillong, a most beautiful hill station in the North Eastern Indian state of Meghalaya, where we used aromatic pine wood to keep the house warm during the colder months.

    These days, of course, use of wood is discouraged as the forest cover
    is being rapidly depleted, but in the far flung hilly corners of the country, wood is still used.

    Here, in the plains of Delhi, as you will recollect, we have mild winters. No need of a fire place at all.

  4. First - answer to Frieda

    This global warming is unfortunately taking place though in a chaotic way.
    There are hundreds of scientist from dozens of countries who testified this. I know there are voices of denial but that is normal, there are people who consider "business as usual" to be the best for them.

    Second - answer to Vinod

    Naturally, I don't know the forest situation in North India. But here, in France's Cantal, wood is plenty.
    In some areas, you can drive 20 minutes without seeing a village.
    Cantal is called "the green country", just fields and forests, many cows, some people. Empty place.

    We have pine aplenty, too, but it is not used for heating because of the resin that clogs the chimneys.


  5. i grew up with a wood stove for heat- and i know exactly of what you speak :)

  6. Hi Georg,

    The forest cover was a lot, all along the Himalayas which stretch right across the north of India, from Pakistan to Myanmar. There was a similar cover in Central India and Western/ Southern India, along the Western Ghats. But reckless felling of trees has drastically reduced this cover. Even remote areas have been affected, causing changes in rainfall and climatic patterns, increasing landslides etc.

    India is so heavily populated that such stretches without people, as you have where you live, are impossible to find, except in extreme high altitude areas near the border with Tibet, where there is little vegetation.

    I wouldn't want to live there! Visits are great, even breathtaking , though.