LOG BLOG: How to keep warm and cosy during winter in Spain

LOG BLOG: How to keep warm and cosy during winter in Spain

Since he’s lived in Andalucía Paul Whitelock has needed to get logs in for the winter. Here is his logs diary for the last 10 years…

11 December 2010

Well, it’s that time of year again up here in the mountains. As the winter draws in and the strong winds infiltrate the gaps in our ill-fitting windows and doors, turning our old house into an ice-box, it’s time to see about ordering logs for the fire! But, what to do? Our regular supplier has packed in!

For the last few years, we’ve bought logs from Paco, delivered to the door in a dupe, at a very reasonable 50€ a load, about half a ton. Towards the end of last winter he’d run out, so we bought a dupe-load from the only other local supplier, Nino. That cost us a steep 70€ and it was rubbish! Soaking wet and poor quality. It was virtually impossible to ignite!

This year we have discovered that Paco has given up the log business altogether. Not wanting to buy more extortionately priced schrott from the now monopoly log supplier in the village, we decided to look for an alternative source.

We’ve ended up collecting our own from Fernando in Ronda – I have a large van, so that was no problem. A price-busting 40€ for a similar quantity and dry as a bone! Plus a free sack of off-cuts to use as kindling.

Only problem is how to get the logs from the van up to the house, as there is no vehicular access unless you have a very slim 4-wheel-drive or your own dupe. The Meter Maid came up with a great idea – use a wheelbarrow!

Well, as I write, puffing heavily, I’ve not long since pushed two barrows-full the 200 metres uphill to the house! And they still have to be schlepped upstairs to the log store. Upstairs? Well, the living room and fire are on the first floor – we’re upside-down dwellers.

Was the wheelbarrow such a great idea, then? Of course – it’s going to keep me fit and help me shed some weight (isn’t it?)

4 February 2011

We’ve just moved house! To our dream home in the campo. We still need logs, so I contacted Esteban, who’d been recommended by the previous owners of the house. He arrived with a small trailer-full and stacked it in our woodstore. ¿Cuánto es? 80€! Blimey!

Despite the high cost, I ordered a second load so that we had a full store that would hopefully see us through the rest of this first winter and the next one too.

Enquiries with other leña suppliers in the area indicated similar prices. Was there a cartel in operation?

As it happens, over the years, we’ve used the chimenea less and less, relying on our central heating.

2 November 2020

As the Covid-19 restrictions on movement came in, I opted to stay in Ronda, while Rita stayed in Montejaque to oversee some ongoing building work at the house there.

Rather than using the central heating and heating the whole house just for me, I took to lighting the chimenea every night. My wood store was full to the brim with free firewood and logs, mainly from some old pallets that were lying around the garden. I’ve also started collecting pallets and other scrap wood from the basura. I reckon I may never need to buy leña again.

I’ve certainly come across quite a few people who sustain their chimeneas in this way. And my friend Jorge salvages his firewood from the river near his home.

I’ve recently invested in a motosierra which will make the cutting up of the pallets a lot easier than sawing by hand. The cost was less than two trailer-loads of Esteban’s logs, so a good buy, I think.

Paul Whitelock

About Paul Whitelock

Paul Whitelock is a retired former languages teacher, school inspector and translator, who emigrated to the Serranía de Ronda in 2008, where he lives with his second wife, Rita, and his dog, Berti. He spends his time between Montejaque and Ronda doing DIY, gardening and writing.