Triumph or disaster?

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Anxiety mounts.  Steamy smoke escapes.  Bits of the clamp collapse slowly into the interior.  Loud bangs are heard.

Waiting for any firing to finish is tantalising.  This is worse.

Lunchtime. The roof of the clamp is starting to fall in.  As air gets in I hear an explosion.  That's one gone then.  Earth it up again quick.

Lunchtime. The roof of the clamp is starting to fall in. As air gets in I hear an explosion. That’s one gone then. Earth it up again quick.

Late afternoon.  Very very slowly removing some unburnt turves and soil from the sides.

Late afternoon. Very very slowly removing some unburnt turves and soil from the sides.

Later afternoon. The rims could be in fifteen bits and just held together by the soil.

Later afternoon. The rims could be in fifteen bits and just held together by the soil.

Tea time.  Delicately removing some of the top layer.  It's still as hot as looking into an oven.

Tea time. Delicately removing some of the top layer. It’s still as hot as looking into an oven.

Evening.  I'm too impatient to wait any longer.  Carefully pull away the last hills and drifts and knobs.

Evening. I’m too impatient to wait any longer. Carefully pull away the last hills and drifts and knobs.

Ware still warm from the ground.  Smells lovely.

Ware still warm from the ground. Smells lovely.

So there they are.  A few are completely undamaged; a few more have chips or hairline cracks; and a few are just basically bust.  Some of the clays have worked beautifully – the pink bowl in particular feels lovely in the hand, and the smoky oxidation/reduction markings are soft and cloudy.

My clothes have been kippered and there is a huge hole in the vegetable garden – a dull job tomorrow, recovering bits of charcoal and unburnt wood ready for next time.

Oh dear – I’m already talking about next time.  Better start planning a trip to the beach.

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