This "fleet" business

Jon Noble jon_p_noble at
Sat May 3 19:16:33 EDT 2003

--- minnow at wrote:
> Anna wrote:
> >I seem to remember
> >reading somewhere that fires were usually smaller
> then, smouldering things
> >for warmth not illumination, rather than the blazes
> we decadent moderns
> >have which might explain why both fire &
> candlelight are mentioned.
> If you live in a wooden house, fire is a dangerous
> thing to have around.
> You need it, for heat and cooking, but it's very
> likely to escape its
> bounds and burn the whole place down if you don't
> keep it well-smored.
> >        Help! Have we a mediaevalist in the house?
> Working on it, and Robyn is one.  But the
> wooden-house-and-fires thing is
> pretty obvious common-sense in any period; and even
> decadent moderns who've
> had a chimney-fire are a bit chary of great blazing
> fires unless they know
> the chimney has been recently swept and no idiot
> jackdaws have been nesting
> in the chimney-pot!  This is said with Deep Feeling:
> the house my Mama
> lived in was stone even though it was built in about
> 1300, and it was stone
> because it was originally the village bakery and
> needed to have a fire most
> of the time, but the jackdaws filling the chimney
> with small sticks still
> led to the chimney on fire when autumn came and the
> fire was lit on the
> hearth again after the summer, and all I can say
> about thatch in these
> circs is it may be as picturesque as you please but
> I'm very glad the roof
> had been slated before the new regulations about not
> changing anything that
> might appeal to tourists started to be enforced.  If
> there had been thatch
> involved the whole place would have gone up.
> Nasty experience.  Definitely something to avoid,
> house-fires.
While we were building our current house we rented an
old farmhouse. When winter hit we decided that the
combination of an open fire and plenty of available
firewood was pretty ideal until a fire started in the
roof cavity. There was chimney going from the fire to
the ceiling and a chimney leaving the roof, but part
of the bit in the middle was missing. Fortunately I
was able to climb into the cavity and put it out.


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