Master Chef has become compulsive viewing in this house and this has had quite an effect on our vocabulary. We talk of “jus” not sauce or gravy, often say that something “could do with a touch more seasoning” and, most worrying of all, call each other “chef” when we are in the kitchen.
I did some chain-sawing this afternoon making more logs for the fire; a very satisfying activity. Actually, the “fire” is a wood burning stove; it came with the house and is a really cheerful and effective heater for these frosty nights. The stove is an Esse Dragon wood burner. It is probably over 30 years old now, but still looks pretty good. Here is a photo of the same model
The stove was made in Scotland and the company, Esse, seems still to be in business. It has an interesting and long history according to its website http://www.esse.com/history.php. One of the founders had a fairly turbulent life. Born in 1816, he decided to migrate to the USA when he was 16. In the US he started a metal working apprenticeship in New Orleans and soon after set up his own company in Jackson, Mississippi. He seemed quite successful and, in 1841, returned to Scotland to marry the girl friend he had left 9 years previously. After the marriage they went back to America resumed the business and had 5 children. But the climate did not agree with his wife and in 1854 the family returned to Scotland and James set up a new business there: Esse. He went back to the US to hand over his old business to his younger brother and on the way back to Scotland his boat was in a collision and presumably sunk. James spent 3 days drifting in a zinc-lined wicker laundry basket before rescue. The Esse brand has some very famous patrons. Florence Nightingale would apparently use no other. Shackleton and Scott both used Esse stoves: a tradition maintained by Alan Hinkes, the English mountaineer, in his Himalayan base camp. There is also an Esse stove in River Cottage.
When I was a graduate student, about to give a lecture, my professor told me that the golden rule of talks was “tell them what you are going to say, then tell them and finally tell them what you have just said”. I seem to recall reading somewhere that all stories should have a beginning, a middle and an end. But I do not think this is true of blogs!