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Winter is here

No snow, but it's cold and damp and gloomy. The time has come for the the central heating to be on.   When I walked down to the river this morning, it was the first time this year that I didn't arrive back at the top of the long steep slope, pink and hot and carrying my coat.

On the way through the village, you walk through a range of fire-smells : different flavours and strengths of woodsmoke swirling past from all the woodburners and open fireplaces that have been installed or brought back into use as oil and gas prices have gone up and up over the last ten years or so. That faintly musty smell with a chemical edge, I think, is burning coal, there's a sharp choking smell that signifies Something Is Wrong with an oilburner, and that even worse smell which I associate with burning anthracite.

In theory, anthracite is supposed to be an efficient, low-smoke, fuel, but all I can say is that the anthracite-powered boiler we had when I was growing up, not only smelt like someone was burning plastic bowls full of vomit, but was quite horrible in terms of setting off my asthma.  I don't know if the fuel I can smell now is the same, but it *smells* the same.  And that is a Bad Thing.

Woodsmoke may be proved Evil by science nowadays, but it still has that magical smell, and fortunately my asthma seems to be untroubled by it.

It was calm by the time I went out this morning, but there's clearly been a lot of wind : there are a lot of trees down in the woods.  There's very little maintenance done to the paths through the old mines on the Duchy of Cornwall land, but I expect the wood-burner owners will be out unofficially collecting before too long.  In the meanwhile, I shoved a few small fallen trees out of the way into the raised line of trees that was once a hedge, to clear the way.   I hope the wind has cleared out most of the standing dead wood that was just waiting to fall.  It's disconcerting when you are walking along and suddenly a huge sodden rotten branch falls out of the sky.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
22nd Nov, 2015 11:30 (UTC)
Yes, I've noticed this just the last few years - when I'm out walking or riding in winter and I descend into a valley, I can smell the villages before I see them. On a still day there's nearly always a blanket of woodsmoke hanging over them.

It would be a bit ironic if air quality in the cities turned out to be better than air quality in the countryside...
22nd Nov, 2015 19:45 (UTC)
I think in a town you would probably have more of that background sort of flat car-fumes sort of smell, which I think I almost don't notice because it's so pervading.

But it wasn't that long ago that when woodsmoke was the smell of autumn bonfires, and now it goes on all winter. I can't being myself to dislike it though.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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