I have recently had a bit of a lifestyle change; you hear of the tree change and the sea change, but I’ve had the opposite.
You see, my minister for war and finance, my significant other, she-who-must-be-obeyed, took on a new job in the city. We resisted the move for a while as she tried to work the role from home in North Queensland, but it wasn’t a long-term solution, so a place in the city was the only option.
Now, this hasn’t impacted me much as I spend most of my time on the road anyway and when I’m not on the road I find that I often go and check on the place in North Queensland, just to make sure all is fine. Sure, I duck in and out of the city too between jobs, and I have to say, there’s a few things about city life that make me shudder but one in particular gets me a little fired up.
When did we make having a fire in town illegal? What social cripple decided that the smell of his neighbour’s backyard comfort fire was interfering with his Home and Away? Fire is an amazing thing, the ‘bush telly’ as we who understand it passionately call it.
It can drive away loneliness and bring people together. Once upon a time if you felt like having a chat to someone, you just lit a fire and someone would appear; it was the universal ‘open for a chat’ signal. It was somewhere to share a yarn, share a cuppa or a beer, somewhere problems were solved and friendships born or reinforced.
What strikes me as ridiculous is the modern-day city dweller will tell of the despair of losing community spirit, of no longer knowing your neighbour and an epidemic of depression and anxiety. Well I’m no rocket surgeon, but I think there’s a connection here.
I’m not one to encourage people to break the rules, but guess what? I found a loophole. You’ll have to check your council’s rules, but mine says that you can have a fire if it’s for the purpose of cooking food for human consumption.
Righto, so here’s me every night, cooking on the fire, just like I love to do. I drag it out for hours on end so I can watch me little mate flickering away, and when the shiny bum next door pokes his head over the fence during the ad break for Married at First Sight, I raise my beer, give him a wink and let him know I’ll be putting out his menace just as soon as I’ve finished.