Autumnal fires

Last night we ate piece of monkfish marinaded in yogurt with turmeric, ginger, garlic, cumin and lime juice. It was fried off quickly in hot oil and eaten with rice and cool tomato salad.

It has been an autumnal day. There was a wind last night and this morning looking out of the bedroom window the front of the house was awash with brown and orange leaves.

It was dry so over the afternoon I raked up the leaves and shovelled them with my hands into a black bin. When the bin was full I took it to a corner of the garden behind the greenhouse and emptied it out. I did that five times. Stamping on the leaves in the bin to compact them down so I could get more in. I finished with a pile of leaves as tall as me.

They took some burning and I must have annoyed all possible neighbours with the smoke the fire made. There was one raspberry left by the birds.

To set them alight I buried a small cardboard box filled with newspaper at the base of the pile and set a corner of paper alight. The cardboard and paper burned quickly enough but there was too much dampness in the leaves for them to catch properly. Instead a deep heat generated in the middle of the pile of leaves and as it got more intense the smoke billowed out across all the neighbouring gardens. Any flame only lasted a minute or so before burning itself out.

Every so often I raked the pile of leaves over covering up where the heat seemed most intense.

It was a good fire and after an hour most of the pile had gone.

For supper we ate the remains of the chicken I had cooked on Friday night with a vegetarian alternative made with aubergine.

In the meantime I cooked an ox’s heart for my sandwiches.

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