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image of a wood chopper

Moving house isn’t too hard when it’s only next door. All you do is pack up your stuff, carry it all next door and unpack it. That’s the easy bit. The hard bit is getting to grips with where everything is located in a house that’s identical to the one you’re vacating, only reversed. I work from home and have for six years walked out of my office, turned right and walked into the lounge and then the kitchen or outside the house. This new home is in reverse. So while I’m carrying boxes of my stuff from one house to the next, once I leave my new office I have to turn left. Ninety-nine percent of the time I’ve turned right. I would hate to think how many extra kilometres I have walked these last few days.

On a brighter, and warmer note, the heating system in our new home is different. The old home has gas fired central heating that’s a little bit cranky. The boiler is located outside in a small brick housing, which requires the user to get on their hands and knees, stretch in and increase the water pressure manually, before it will turn on and heat the water. That’s a daily chore.

Our new home has a wood burner, or briquette burner if you want to be a little more green. This only heats the main living room and we have fitted electric heaters for the other rooms if needed. Getting to grips with setting a fire is essentially plonking a 21st century office worker into a 18th century backwoodsman scenario. (As a footnote to this story, I’ve discovered a British meaning for backwoodsman – Informal British term for a peer who very rarely attends the House of Lords.) In days of yore a north American backwoodsman would have had to chop down a few trees, let them dry out a little, then chop the tree into logs and hey-presto, he has the means to keep warm in the winter. Not quite true as I have discovered.

First off I need to put some newspaper into the burner. Then a little kindling. I light the newspaper which in turn lights the kindling. Once a good fire is going I carefully lay a briquette onto the fire, shutting the burner’s door by 90%. Once the briquette is burning I can shut the door fully and open or close the flue depending on how much air I want to let in to make the briquettes burn faster or slower.

Okay, that sounds simple enough, until you realise that you’ve used up your one and only source of newspaper! I buy one newspaper a week, on a Saturday. Then you also realise you have to use a chopper to create your own kindling. I have never used a hand-held chopper in my life. I’m a computer programmer, a designer and a writer. Where in all these skills does it say in the manual of life you need to be skillful with an axe?

Chopper skills I need to learn on the job or I start to freeze at night. Cyprus is sunny during the day mostly, but the winter nights are very chilly.

So, dear reader, if you notice my average posts on here begins to suffer a few spelling errors and in general is getting less and less, it only means I’ve taken off a few fingers in my desire to be one with nature and as green as possible.

Copyright Tom Kane © 2018

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. In ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

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Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

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Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here