Saturday, 8 December 2012

First in, last out

Back when we used to do youth work in the UK I was often the first in and the last out. For a number of years we ran different events in a converted warehouse building that had slightly temperamental heating. It was controlled by a computer system; all regular events were programmed in so, in theory, the venue would be warm when you arrived. Invariably it wasn't. At these times it was a case of reaching for the big orange over-ride button, which would kick the heating in on full for an hour.

These days such memories serve as a reminder of how easy life is in a town where central heating is normal.  There are plenty of places in Bosnia and Herzegovina where central heating is widespread; some have city-wide central heating, harnessing the heat from local factories. But Jajce is not one of those places. Heating here is almost always by wood-burning stove. In its favour, this is a far more effective and enjoyable heat than attempting to use an air conditioner, as is common in Mostar, but is comes at a price. Cutting and carrying logs is only part of it. We don't live in the world of computer controlled wood stoves - yes, they exist! - and there is no magic orange button. Someone has to turn up an hour early to get the fire started. For every activity we do. This morning that was me. First in. Fire lighting. Rowan, however, was the last out. I went from our youth club session to floorball training. She went home...to light the fire there.

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