Logged and loaded

Bloganuary Day 14: a fresh challenge

Write about a challenge you faced and overcame.

Nice try, WordPress, nice try. Today’s prompt looks to me like a blatant attempt to get bloggers to big themselves up and boast about some achievement or other. Not happening here: this is a self-aggrandisement free zone.

I know for sure that in my time I have faced various life challenges and overcome (most of) them, but I’m not the only one and as an old-school Brit it would mortify me – and undoubtedly bore you – if I banged on about any of them.

Freed from the rat-race of employment, with its myriad daily challenges – most of them work colleagues, in my experience – my life now is, touch wood, not unduly challenging on a daily basis.

‘Touch wood’ may be the operative phrase here, because twice a year I am faced with what, for me at any rate, constitutes an imposing physical challenge: stacking our heating logs.

Made of sterner stuff as we are, Madame and I didn’t opt for central heating when having our house done up. Background heating, a wood-burning stove and a couple of other log-burners would do the trick we reasoned.

And, by and large, it does. However, there is a price to be paid, and that price is 160 euros per cord. If you want to know what a ‘cord’ is, it’s the standard measure for ‘bois de chauffage’, equivalent to about three cubic metres. And if you’re wondering what three cubic metres looks like, well it’s half the size of this pile:

This is how it’s delivered, sliding off the back of a trailer. In an average winter we get through between three and four cords, but I get them delivered in twos, partly because that’s all I’ve got room for at any one time and partly because – well, if you think two cords looks daunting…

Obviously, it can’t just stay where it’s been dumped, not least because it’s blocking the garage door. Well why put it there in the first place, you may ask. The answer is quite straightforward: they get stacked (as in ‘I stack them’) down the far side of said garage in two rows, to a height of about eight feet. Frankly, the last thing you want is to be carrying that lot any distance.

Although I say so myself, it’s quite an impressive sight when they’ve all been put away, Sadly, though, there is no magic wand that will achieve this sans souci: it’s manual labour all the way and there’s no denying that it gets more challenging every time, what with me not being as young as I used to be.

It is, though, an excellent opportunity to zone out. In go the earphones and on goes a full Grateful Dead show, carefully (alright, randomly) selected from the thousand or so that I have downloaded in my library. As a general rule, it takes me two full shows, spread over two days, to get the job done.

But they do say that time flies when you’re enjoying yourself.

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