During the evening the fire sometimes needs a little bit of help. Independently, and unbeknownst to the other, we both did some research on blow pokers as a possible solution.
Blow’n'poke, a UK retailer specialising in blow pokers describe the item as follows:
The BLOW POKER is a very simple and useful cross between an ordinary poker and a bellows. It is a brass tube about 3 feet long and one inch in diameter. One end has a mouthpiece like a trumpet’s through which you blow. The air comes out of the other end which is put near the fire and gets it to burn up – similar to a bellows but using your own puff. The ‘fire’ end also has a solid point, so it can be used just as well instead of a poker.
They looked just what we needed but £45 seemed a little steep, and that was before adding on the cost of postage to Cyprus. We have found, through hard experience, that shipping things here can be horribly expensive. Last year it made more sense to buy an item online from a retailer in New Zealand than from one in Europe because of the shipping costs. How can that make sense? How can it be cheaper, or sensible, to send something 10,000 miles rather than 500?
Anyway, back to the tale at hand. We looked, we liked, but we decided it was too great an expense so we shelved the plan.
A couple of days later we were doing some work in the so-called garage. Once we’d finished the things we’d intended to do we had a little tidy up and identified two or three things that needed to be disposed of and were too big for the regular rubbish collection. Included in that group were a pair of collapsible outdoor chairs, the type that can be folded up and thrown in the back of the car for use wherever. We tend to buy a pair a cheap pair each year and accept that they won’t last longer than that. Last year’s were the princely sum of 10€ each and had served us well all through the spring, summer and autumn only to start to disintegrate at the end of the year.
Just as we were about to consign the chairs to the discard pile a thought occurred. The supporting diagonal of the chair was hollow, approximately the same length as a blow poker and open at both ends. Surely it couldn’t be that simple?
Well, it turns out it is. Five minutes work with a screwdriver and bingo! One piece of the chair is now acting as a very efficient blow poker for the fire. £45 plus shipping saved … and we have three spares if needed.
Sometimes the gods of frugality are watching and smiling ;-)