Ann Widdecombe on Woodburning Fires

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Famous woodburning stove fan!

I recently stumbled across an extract from Ann Widdecombe’s book “Simple Pleasures: Little Things That Make Life Worth Living” (via as she has shown a particular interest in woodburning, I thought I’d share part of the extract with you.

“There is nothing so good for the soul, the nerves or the overactive mind as the log fire. No long walk on Dartmoor is complete without a collapse in front of the cheerfully crackling logs to round it off.

A roaring fire brings a room alive – more so, of course, if there is a cat purring before it or crumpets toasting on long forks or Father Christmas consuming his sherry and mince pies. But even on its own it proclaims the very existence of home. What is the point of reading a book if you cannot look into the flames and meditate between chapters? Or watching some soothing old film without the rustle of burning wood in the background?

Forget coal. Coal is boring. It hisseth not, it crackleth not and it flameth but little. It serves only to keep the fire going but it has no beauty of its own. Logs make a fire and without them there is no fire worthy of the name.

It was when I had a fireplace put into my Fulham flat that I knew my first experiment in home ownership really did involve a home rather than just a property. I had virtually no money but fallen wood is free and I collected twigs on long walks, sometimes rejoicing in a stout branch. I did not have a shawl or a basket and I did not meet the big bad wolf, but in every other way it felt like a fairy story.

A log fire proclaims the very existence of home. What is the point of reading a book or watching an old film without the rustle of burning wood?

I was saddened when my next move, onwards and upwards, meant a flat with no fire, but very soon came a rural constituency complete with cottage and two log fires…”
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Detecting Carbon Monoxide (CO2)

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It is important that you are aware of the legal requirements regarding stove installations…

As of 1st October 2010 it became a legal requirement as per Document J of the Building Regulations that where a new or replacement fixed solid fuel appliance is installed in a dwelling, a carbon monoxide alarm should be provided in the room that the appliance is located.

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, poisonous gas. As well as having a CO2 alarm fitted, it is important that your solid fuel appliance is installed by a HETAS registered installer, you have your chimney/flue swept regularly and any ventilation fitted is kept clear. For more information and advice, including how to spot warning signs of a carbon monoxide leak, please visit

Corinium Flue Systems and Corinium Stoves sell the SF450EN Carbon Monoxide Alarm from Honeywell Analytics; a self contained alarm designed for use in all domestic environments including caravans and boats – with a guaranteed life of up to 6 and a half years. To view the product and find out more please click here