Years and Years: Woodburners in an unpredictable world

Years and Years (BBC)

Have you watched BBC drama Years and Years? It paints the picture of a British family living in a dystopian near-future. Some of the real-life political, social, technological and environmental concerns of recent years are played out to imagined (and often terrifyingly believable) conclusions.

One thing that provided at least some comfort while watching disaster after disaster unfold was the reassuring presence of our wood-burning stove.

Extreme Weather

One of the themes explored included the increasingly extreme weather conditions. Any residents of Whaley Bridge who happened to be catching up with Years and Years on BBC iPlayer over the past couple of weeks could be forgiven for wondering whether the boundaries of drama and reality had been blurred. In the TV show, there were days, weeks and months of persistent rain, which inevitably caused flooding and damaged infrastructure.


Then there were the blackouts. Dire economic conditions, perhaps aided by the interference of another country, were causing frequent power cuts. The electricity was going off several times ago. This, of course, had a knock-on effect for the array of digital technologies on which people, businesses and government were even more reliant than we are today. In Years and Years the result was a return to using paper for documenting important information.

But the effect on us was to consider the usefulness of a wood-burning stove. In extreme weather, when surrounding infrastructure has failed and even when there is no power, a woodburner will still do its job. (Though we should point out that effigies are not on our list of recommended fuels).

Heat, Light & Food

It provides heat, which of course is its primary function and is very useful if your central heating is not working.

It also provides light, which is something you don’t really consider until you need it. A woodburner probably creates more light than all of the candles you have in your home at the moment, which makes it easier to maintain some sort of normality.

Perhaps a power cut would leave you without a means of cooking a hot meal. If you have a woodburner, you can simply put a saucepan on top and use the heat generated to make your dinner.

Of course, all these things are true even if your power cut is brought about by something less dramatic than the storyline of Years and Years. Whether it’s a fallen power line or improvements to the network in your area, a woodburner will be unaffected. You might say that a stove is reassuringly analogue. That metal box will do its job as long as you’ve got something to burn inside it.

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