One of my favourite things in the world is what we call "Fire Nights".
Basically, when the evening is fine - be it winter or summer - we light the brazier and cook our dinner over the flames. Sausages or chicken skewers, either will do.
Sometimes we have fire nights "just us". Sometimes we have friends over.
We snuggle under blankets on chairs pulled up as close as safety allows to the warm fireglow.
We toast marshmallows, tell stories and play games like Truth or Dare or our fave: Circles and Triangles*.
Fire nights are the best. Nobody needs to be entertained, it's nothing complicated or fancy. We just hang out around the fire, under the lights. (Of course we may snap a pic or two, as evidence of fun times, for posterity, but otherwise gadgets are superfluous).
The last couple of weeks, I've been sole-parenting, with hubby galavanting in Europe (as you do). And of course, during his absence it's also been SCHOOL HOLIDAYS (best-of-times/worst-of-times).
But a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do, and sometimes you just need a Fire Night, even if there's no dad around to chop wood.
I called my friend Mel and invited her to bring her kids and join us for fireside fun. She was keen.
(School holidays on your own with three kids - say no more).
Then I discovered that security-conscious daddy had padlocked the brazier to the foozeball table before he left (I guess so any fun-loving burglars could steal neither of them???!) - never dreaming that I might attempt a fire night without him and his firelighting skills.
What to do????! I had promised Mel and the kids a fire - and marshmallows - and I had to deliver.
Kiwi ingenuity to the rescue.
Some bricks, a galvanised drinks tub (I have two) and a metal grate from the brazier would do the trick nicely.
As it is winter (and daddy was not here to object) I set it up under cover in the carport, figuring a bit of smoke never hurt anyone...
Mel found me choking and coughing while trying to get the too-big lumps of wood to light.
Seems I don't have the fire-lighting touch I thought I had, but no matter - Mel does!
Before long she had the fire roaring, and we got the sausages sizzling (hardly any smoke). Yay for Mel!
As you can see, it was fab - fire, friends, fun, Marshmallows and all.
Who needs blokes aye? Girls can light fires too (even in drinks tubs under carports)
Especially with friends (and marshmallows).
*HOW TO PLAY OUR FAVE FIRESIDE GAME:
CIRCLES AND TRIANGLES (like cops and robbers)
(Taught to us by my brother and Spanish sis-in-law, many moons ago and now shared with every person who sits around our fire).
- In a bowl put folded slips of paper, one for each person, marked with either a circle or a triangle.
- Ratio: One triangle per three circles
- The triangles are the "baddies"; the circles are the "goodies"
- Each person picks out a slip of paper which they must look at but not show anyone.
- The aim is to figure out who are the triangles by observing body language, facial expressions and behaviour. Guilty or suspicious behaviour may earn you an accusation, then see you voted off the game.
- To begin the game, one person asks everyone to close their eyes, then invites just the triangles to open their eyes, give each other a wink, then close their eyes again. (The triangles can then work together to vote off circles - by accusing them of being triangles - while trying to appear innocent themselves.)
- Everyone opens their eyes and the fun begins.
- Who looks suspicious? Who is acting guilty? Make a nomination, convince people to vote with you.
- If a majority votes against someone, that person must reveal whether they are in fact a circle or triangle by showing their slip of paper. Then they are "dead" and cannot vote or comment or make accusations.
- Keep going until there are only two people left OR all the triangles are revealed.
- If EVEN ONE triangle is left in the game at the end, the triangles win.
- If all the triangles are discovered, the circles win.
This game is a fascinating (and hilariously revealing) study of human nature! Minimum numbers for a decent game would be 7 (with two triangles). We played with nine (three triangles) and that was perfect. There's no maximum and no age limit. Scrag started playing this when he was four, and learned very quickly how to divert suspicion and play smart.
More Backyard Fun: