First fire autumn 2012…

The first day of autumn and also the Autumn Equinox – when the period of night and day are meant to be in exact alignment.

It just so happened that this was the day we got the fire and chimney swept and fixed. The guy took about 30 minutes to sweep the chimney, clean out the stove, replace the back fire brick, fix the turning plates and replace the smoke rope. Bargain.

Claire also applied the stove polish all over it to protect it from rust, while me and the boys got a full stack of firewood in from the end of the garden. So we’re now enjoying toasty wood fires again! : )



Flame retardant sky lanterns…!

After calling at least 10 different companies, I finally tracked down the right product, from a company who could get it to me the next day! I was looking for a standard flame retardant liquid spray, which could be used to flame-proof the sky lanterns for our small Autumn Equinox party tomorrow.

Obviously this was a last minute idea and we already have bought sky lanterns, but I thought it would be a fun activity for some of the older children. Lots of research into lantern design, then into flame-proofing them. This proved to be less straightforward.

I called B&Q, Polya, Hobbycraft, Johnson’s (dry cleaners), Dunelm and Carpetright, but with no luck. Everyone either said you couldn’t get this sort of thing, or that only internet companies would sell it. Great.

So, next I considered natural flame retardants. Lots of sites came up with Borax being suggested, which is commonly a fabric detergent for getting stains out, made up of 100% sodium borate. This was also not readily available from anywhere, including Wilkinsons, Boots, Tesco and Sainsbury’s – yes I called them all! I even found the Borax product which Tesco used to sell maybe 3 years ago!

So, I checked what sort of products we had in the house. The one that I noticed was vinegar. Not sure why I thought this might work, but I checked this in Google and one of the first articles to come up referred to people in the time around 300 BC using vinegar on wood frame buildings to treat them against fire. Promising start.

So I tested this with a sheet of paper soaked in vinegar. This is still drying but i’ll see if this works later on.

Finally, I spotted a website which had the flame retardant spray but with next day delivery, if phoning before 3pm! It was 3pm when I looked at the site! I called them straight away and they said they would check the courier and call back. They did back, but had just missed the courier, but he was going to another factory next where they would try and catch him! He called back saying that they had missed him again, but had just put a next day delivery Royal mail sticker on and sent it straight to the sorting office, so are hopeful of getting it to me by tomorrow!

What a stress out. All because making sky lanterns would be a great activity for the kids for the party! The two fall back options are the sky lanterns we already have + the more young-child friendly activity of decorating glass jars with autumn coloured tissue paper. There’s also roasting marshmallows on the fire, so all is not lost!