Let me introduce you to Stove - yes he needs a capital letter and yes, he is a he - there is absolutely no doubt about that. He sits under the mantel in our back sitting room and glowers - that is he glowers at me. I cannot deny that he is efficient - he fills the whole house with a lovely glowing warmth and has, in many ways, transformed our Winter here on the farm. But Stove is a man's man.
I call the farmer "Stove Man" because he deals so efficiently with Stove - cleaning him out in the morning, laying his new fire, keeping him stoked up and answering his every whim. But, you ask, what about your role with Stove.
Well, dear readers, Stove does not like me. With me he is a malevolent toad! If I light him, he promptly goes out or smoulders sulkily; if I have to stoke him up because the farmer is out then he traps my logs crossways on in his belly so that I can't get the lid shut; he burns my knuckles when I try to rearrange the logs in order to shut the door - and on the occasion when I accidentally dropped the opening tool into the fire he positively glowed with glee.
Don't tell me that he is an inanimate object and has no personality, for I know different. I am telling you, one night when I come down in the middle of the night to make a cup of tea that Stove will rise up on his legs and attack me. For that reason I shall keep a bucket of water behind the kitchen door and throw it at him when it happens - that will cool his fury. But when you read about it in the papers, remember that you read it here first!