Back around Christmas I told you we were putting a stove in the living room. It’s a basic stove, fitted, almost flush with the fireplace and it isn’t attached to the boiler to heat water or run radiators.

I love an open fire and we light one in the living room almost every evening from September until early May.

I think there’s nothing as cosy as an open fire. Because of this I had resisted putting in the stove. I thought it couldn’t replace the real thing and would leave the room feeling very bare. I was wrong.

The stove was installed just before Christmas and since then we haven’t bought as much as a lump of coal for it.

All it burns is good, dry timber. It only takes seconds to light and once it gets going a big piece of timber will keep it lit for hours.

It produces barely any ash and what ash there is, it’s lovely and powdery – great for the garden.

The stove has a nice-sized glass front so we still get the open fire effect. The heat from it is amazing.

In fact, it’s so warm we never turn on the radiator in that room anymore.

The stove, its installation and a length of marble for the hearth cost €1,600.

With good Polish coal at €20/bag, the thing will more than pay for itself in 18 months.

So if you are fed up losing all that heat up the chimney, of constantly having to fill the stick basket and clean out ashes – then a stove is the answer.

It certainly is the best bit of kit we’ve bought for the house in years.

On Saturday night Sean and I did something we haven’t done for years – we went to the pictures.

On the drive in we were trying to think of the last film we had been to on our own.

Believe it or not it was probably Michael Collins and that’s 20 years ago. Sure we’ve been to the cinema with the children, but this was more like a date night.

The film that had caught our attention was The Post, starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, and it was brilliant.

It’s all about how the Washington Post and New York Times newspapers defied President Nixon by publishing the Pentagon Papers.

These papers showed that the US knew it was never going to win the Vietnam War years before it pulled out.

Meryl Streep plays Catherine Graham, owner of the Washington Post who has some tough decisions to make.

Tom Hanks is Ben Bradlee, editor of the paper. The director is Steven Spielberg. What a talent pool and they certainly lived up to their reputations.

I loved that I could sit through a movie without having to cover my eyes and ears all the time because of the threat of violence.

Sean jokes that I can only watch movies that are PG5.

Apart from the opening two minutes which depicted a battle scene in Vietnam, and which was needed to put the movie in context, there was no violence. I would highly recommend it.

However, for those of you who haven’t been to a cinema in years, be aware that you can now pre-book cinema tickets online, so it’s not a matter of arriving early and getting the best seats.

We ended up two rows from the front and it’s a mistake we won’t make the next time.

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