Warm outdoors…and a woodsmoke hangover

15/05/2016 · 0 comments

in Crochet,Food,Garden

sunshinemandalaIs it possible to have a woodsmoke hangover? This morning I woke with the sense that the outside is very much inside. The whiffs of woodsmoke are throughout the house, my hair…well everywhere. Last night we had very two of our oldest friends over and even though the outdoor temperate was distinctly parky we were determined to have some of our evening meal outdoors.

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Both Varnam boys do not need much of a hint to get a fire going, so both the chiminea and the fire-bowl were roaring away in no time. I am going to be honest, the fire-bowl looks very cool. It is a focal point, a thing to watch and great fun for late night marshmallow toasting. But even the merest breeze and you can find yourself chatting through a fog of smoke. The heat is also quite dissipated and on an early summer evening you need to sit on top of it to feel the benefit.

On the other hand, the chiminea in my humble opinion does not look cool, or rather it look incongruous in our distinctly English garden. But it does what its name implies and the chimney funnels away most of the smoke. You also can feel the heat and don’t have to sit on each others laps in order to benefit from the warmth. I resisted buying it last year, for ridiculous style prejudices, but conceded last night that it is by far the most effective of our outdoor heaters.

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Within seconds of sitting round the garden table I knew that I should fetch the blanket basket. This used to be just a summer feature in our kitchen, but it seems to have taken up almost permanent residence. All my favourite crochet blankets live here, so that they can be dragooned into cosy comforting at a moments notice. I am sure that the blanket basket has extended the hours we spend outdoors throughout the year – we move from late sun to twilight very easily.

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Last night was the first outing for the Lyme Bay shawl – not worn by me but borrowed with style by my friend. I care not whether there is a bit of ‘Granny’ chic; a lovingly worked cosy accessory will never go out of fashion. However it might need a bit of an airing today – it does have a rather outdoorsy smell. But you know the best bit about finding ways to stay outdoors on a British summer evening is that it extends the time chatting and giggling with good friends, old friends, friends who know you inside out and love you for who you are – even it does mean that they leave smelling like a kipper. More evenings like that I say… Bring on the summer!

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