In the big room, an aga burned. The gravel scratch of heavy cast iron portholes, lifted and moved, revealing the furnace inside. Mystery doors, clanged open and shut, the sparkling hard black chalk of coal chunks, thrown in. Years later, a window in New York stopped me cold. There it was again, only this time a gleaming red beast, all polished up and ready for overnight delivery. All set to be wasted and unearned in the Hamptons, it'll never see a pot of spuds like ours, never be as vital, never be the only heat to raise eight in the winter's long dark. A coal dust square marks the footings now, a black bruise cornered off from scullery to sitting room, front steps to armchair. An air square rises, a fillintheblank ghost of days when everything was bigger and further away. The insides wrenched and scattered, the hard used spoils, to IKEA cupboards up and down the hill. Knives dulled on soda and rashers, gilt-edged china worn bare by a thousand lips. Busy, whisper, clink and sigh. Sip worry sip. Different devils, familiar fears. All met in the end, risen above, grandfather. In your place now, the seeds sprout. One becomes six on this fertile soil, shown how to follow, walking on your feet to be taller, starting down their own lanes. Blue eyes, milk skin, your fire carried on, a wonder virus, sparkling in the coal dust.