Fire is many things to different people: dangerous, useful, warming, destructive.
Of course all of them can be true, but humans wouldn't have survived in the British Isles without it.
Remembering that we've gathered around outdoor fires for thousands of years puts me in a pensive mood whenever I light my own.
Image embedded from the Times archive - Stone age man making fire.
Now we approach bonfire night, there are no doubt some bits of garden rubbish waiting to be burned.
Fire is hypnotic and beautiful to people of all ages, and teaching youngsters about the dangers and pleasures of fire in a safe setting can ensure fun is had without any mishaps.
Here are my top tips for a safe, fun bonfire:
Why not go for the full experience and cook on your fire?
Restrictions for fire lighting anywhere that's not your own land are complex, so stick to your garden or check with the land owner before going ahead. It's always good to heed the Coutryside code, leave no trace.
The colder weather can make the outdoors a less appealing place to be, but the wellington boot is a vital ally in the autumn.
Here are a few imaginative uses for the humble welly...
1) Take a welly wander
OK you've probably done this one, but it's worth remembering how much freedom wellies can give you. Explore some muddy tracks and keep an eye out for footprints left by animals.
2) Bootprint garden
Scrape the mud from your boots after a walk, pack it into a seed tray with some compost and water, keep it somewhere light and warm and see what grows!
3) Try kick-sampling
Wade into a shallow stream with a net. Facing downstream with your net against the stream bed, scuff your wellies and see what catches in the net. Investigate and release.
4) Make a retired welly garden
Damaged wellies make great flower pots, fill the feet with stones and the legs with compost. Plant something that bees or butterflies will love when the spring rolls around.
5) Jump in puddles or waves
Any Pepper Pig fans are probably veterans at this one. Wellies make chasing in and out of shallow waves fun even in the cold. Filled your boots? Stuff wet wellies with newspaper and leave overnight somewhere warm.
6) Wang your welly
Have a boot chucking contest with your friends or family. Timing the underarm swing for a perfect release takes practice. How far can you wang yours?
This article is taken from the autumn issue of our Nature's Home magazine.