Very probably, have heard munching sounds in it for the last 3 years, but have never quite got down to the dregs to investigate.
I love winter...bleak frozen hill tops, black jagged outlines of trees bent against the wind, endless variations of soup, actually I hate it, except for the WOOD FIRE.
I have always lived with open fires in the house/flat, even in London. When buying a flat there, I was still trying to work out if I could carry wood up 7 flights of stairs, and whether the lease would allow the fireplace to be used. There is something so fundamental about a real fire in a house. The sounds, smell, colour and of course, the true heart of the house warmth.
I was amazed when we first lived in France to find how many people, certainly in this region, rely on wood for heating, often for hot water as well. We were used to fires in the u.k being something extra special. Pub with real open fire....something used for show rather than life saving heat potential.
So this is our wood pile. Part inherited from our lovely previous house owners, part built up by us. Following in their tradition, most of it is raided from demolition sites (with permission bien sur) Jean -Paul put in a massive 'insert' fireplace which burns just about anything. This year we are burning old pine and cypress, spurned by everyone else, and the beams of a beautiful house in Limoux which the Mairie demolished under some spurious pretext. Most people burn oak here, which of course is excellent, slow burning, very hot, unlike rubbish old pine, still waste not want not!
During the few extremely cold weeks, we do put electric fires on when frost bite is looming, otherwise its just the fire, thick socks and duvet layers, and chopping wood..it warms you twice.