Panic bought any fuel yet? If so, you’re not alone.
As queues snake down roads the length and breadth of the country, it’s hard not to feel a little worried.
We had to fill up our vans on Friday, as a busy week always sends the dial edging towards empty. I’m just glad we didn’t have to join a queue to do so.
This week has been a big one for fuel stories in general. Because just days prior to the petrol panic, the news bulletins were full of doom about gas prices.
Some companies have gone bust, and the spiralling cost of heating bills, according to industry regulators Ofgem, is likely to be ‘unprecedented’.
The two stories have a common theme – they are both energy sources which we rely on others to provide. And for the moment at least, the provision of these has been called massively into question.
As far as I’m aware, very few/nobody in the UK produces their own gas or vehicle fuel. I certainly don’t and, like I suspect the other 99.9%, I’m at the mercy of the producers.
Of course, being beholden to others is precisely the reason why many people cherish having their own solid fuel fireplace. Whether it’s an open fire, woodburner or multi fuel stove, you can source your own wood, chop it, season it and burn it at your own leisure.
And because, relatively speaking, there isn’t as much call for wood, or coal, as there is on other forms of fuel, it’s almost what social media influencers may describe as a ‘life hack’.
In uncertain times, having a real fireplace goes from being a nice-to-have luxury for the majority to a massive form of comfort for all.
Because, not only is it the most basic, primitive form of heat, but it’s unlikely you’ll have to depend greatly/at all on others to enable its continued use.
In recent years, there have been many doom and gloom merchants going round prophesying the end of solid fuel burning in the UK. A batch of inaccurate headlines haven’t helped.
When asked about these by customers, I always point out that if I believed the end was nigh for solid fuel, I wouldn’t be;
a) in their house at that moment or
b) expanding our company, which is now one of the fastest growing of its kind in the UK.
I would be doing something else.
Of course, the big boom in woodburners etc has levelled off compared to what it was 10 years ago or so. But it’s now found its natural (for the moment at least) settling point.
Prior to this week’s media stories, there was talk of more people reverting back to gas. I’m sure many are now rethinking this.
Yes, the humble real fireplace has dipped in and out of fashion in the past 100 years but it’s still an important feature for many.
And, in times of crisis, the flicker of real flames provides comfort which very few other types of energy sources could ever hope to match…
David is the founder and owner of Mr Soot Chimney Sweep, based in the North West of England. He is also the co-founder of Burnright, a national campaign which aims to educate people on how to get the best out of their appliances and burn responsibly.