Friday, 14 April 2006

Crazy World of Arthur Brown

I found a new way of lighting a fire this morning. Well, it’s not strictly speaking new, I’m sure people have been doing it for years and I have read about it but it was new to me. I was trying to light the fire in the usual way, home made tinder on a leaf and sparks from the Fire Steel, normally the tinder catches and a small flame is produced, from this I light some dried grass and so on until I’m sitting back with a cup of tea and warm feet. It was probably the rain and the mist that stopped this working today; either that or I had messed up making the tinder. In either event I could not get the fire going, occasionally the tinder would flare up but the grass would not catch. In the end I was left with a very delicate ember of glowing tinder about the size of half a five pence piece on the leaf. I carefully transferred this piece of tinder to the charred end of one of yesterday’s logs and sandwiched it in place with a piece of charcoal that I had previously made. My gently blowing onto the ember of tinder, most of which blew away; I encouraged a small spot on the charred log to start glowing. Over the course of about a minute I continued to blow and with each breath the area of log that was glowing expanded. An orange glow that expanded on every breath, I assume that the underside of the charcoal was undergoing the same process. For soon a flame appeared only to go out again as soon as I had stopped blowing on it. Holding the dried grass over the charcoal and log ensured, a few breaths later, that the grass caught light.

Hugely satisfying experience

Gotta rush



Mdx said...

Great stuff. You're becoming a pro!

steph said...

We've just got back from staying in the woodlands of Norfolk. The sauna at the swimming pool was just like the humidity in the Rainforest (i imagine). And on our way up what East Anglians would call a mountain an adder bid us 'good day!' So why bother with Ecuador when you've got all the same threats in Norfolk? I'm sure the Norfolk Forestry Commission will give you a training course just like this bloke Ralph will.
Kizzy has promised not to embarress me anymore, but I don't believe her as she is on the verge of becoming a teenager.

TheJamMan said...

The most exciting way I ever lit a fire was with 2.5 a huge pile of green wood and litres of unleaded. The most exciting fire i ever lit was with a huge pile of soggy leaves and 2.5 litres of diesel (had run out of unleaded) Incidentally the latter was also the most exciting fire I've ever had to put out!

Daniel said...

Hugh, I read your article in the Sunday Times mag some time ago and thought i'd just drop a line in support of what your doing. You have my deepest respect and sincere appreciation for such unique, imaginate and original an idea to help. And fair fecks to ya on the fire, so hard to light in the rain-i should know it rains here in ireland ALL the time. You've read Walden? How is your reflection regarding living the Walden life and at the same time sharing that life with a severely-what seems like typical-Western lifestyle. Psychologically it must be pretty strange. The ascetic life of a forest hermit and the metropolitan life of a city bids clerk.

ODM (Original Ditch Monkey) said...


I'm currently avoiding writing any of the pseudo philosophy that comes to me whilst at the fireside. I am very aware that this time has changed me a lot but this process is ongoing and so I'm going to refrain from writing about any of the 'deeper' issues until I can look back and write about them as a whole.

Jamman - petrol is like sooooo kewl.

Steph,Norfolk! Brilliant idea, it's flat as well so no uphill. Mike has an idea that kind of invoves Norfolk but it is a secret for now. Suffice to say that it is sillyer than going to the jungle.

maddox - pro? sadly not, the next day there was a lot of huffing, puffing, hands turning black and ash going up nose but no fire.