One could sit on the hob seat in the fireplace which was high, deep, rough and soot-encrusted. The flickering flames of the fire ………..
….. cast weird and amusing shadows around the hearth and up the chimney. Mother and Mick took great pleasure, sitting on the hob seat, listening to my childish whoops of joy as I watched their fantastic shadows on the rough wall. As they moved their heads, noses and chins stuck right the fireplace. Mick’s cap shot up into the shadows and Mother’s hair seemed to fly out in all directions. The Hall of Mirrors wasn’t a patch on the display Mother and Mick gave me from the hob on the fireplace.
The younger generation of today have straight walls, brightness and heat by their firesides – if firesides they have! Alas, no fireside Hall of Mirrors to enrich youthful memories.
Mick would come in with ‘Shep’, the sheepdog, panting and wagging his tail in delight. When I wasn’t tottering about getting in everyone’s way, I sat on my little sugan chair, wondering what lay beyond the half-door which Mother kept bolted. She and Mick never stopped fussing over me and would not let me out to see the cows and the pig and the river.
I loved watching Nellie, the donkey, stick her head over the half-door, her big brown eyes begging for the carrot or lump of sugar or bread which Mother always gave her. I wasn’t afraid when her big ears flapped as I tried to touch her silky nostrils.
To me, she looked like a big, friendly dragon!