One of the things I love about visiting people in the countryside is their tendency in the winter to have wood burning stoves. If the wood is sourced from the right place - and I'm working on this - then you can have carbon neutral space heating.
After long talks, debates and saving up we now have an Aga Little Wenlock woodburner fitted (suitable for smokeless zones) where our Victorian fireplace used to be. It's pretty warm today - 16C - but last weekend, when it was a bit colder, we set it alight both evenings with amazingly good results. In fact the woodburner's efficiency made our sitting room warm enough for me to stay up late (chatting), rather than retire with a hot water bottle to bed at 9pm. Its cosy glow reminds me of Hannah's in Wales and Exeter, and my childhood in Hertfordshire. Pete says - rather happily - that the atmosphere in our living room hints at warm ups by the pub after breath-freezing days in the Lakes and Yorkshire.
Of course you need kindling to light it, and so there's a new task for the children (see pic). Here's Nell and her three year old cousin Jago helping me collect up a big bag of twigs off an ash tree, which all fell down after a night of gales.
Searching for kindling, copying great ideas (I think the Swedes invented the woodburner, just checking) and being able to story around the fire make autumn and winter such a pleasure. next project may be to plant some more trees...