As I've mentioned, I'm pretty much a lifelong pyrophobe. Even carrying a candle in a jar as part of the Christmas nativity was too much for me as a kid. Eating at a table with a candle on it still made me quake well into my teens. Bonfire Night - out of the question. As part of the resolution to be braver, I decided to overcome the fear and do what I had never done before...light a match. I'd always been terrified of having flames so close to me, and on the rare occasions I had tried lighting a match, I'd strike it so tentatively and weakly, not even a little spark would come off.
In January, I bought some incense cones, to make my home smell a little nicer. The other day, I finally decided to go ahead and try to light one. I bought some matches and cleared an area, got a little tea plate to put the cone onto (they supply a little metal disc but this didn't feel secure enough) and a mug of water ready for me to drop the match into in case I panicked or had an accident with the match or couldn't blow it out. I tied my hair back, rolled up my sleeve...
I imagine Hercule Poirot looking at the aftermath of my incense-lighting session and deducing, with his little grey cells, just by the amount of blackened burntness on each matchstick, how it went...
Attempt one - when the match finally lit I instinctively blew it out straight away in surprise and panic.
Attempt two - ditto.
Attempt three - didn't blow it out but couldn't get the flame to 'take' on the cone and had to blow the flame out before I burnt myself.
Attempt four - ditto.
Attempt five - thought I had lit it successfully at last, but blew out both cone and match at the same time.
Attempt six - ditto.
Attempt seven - ditto.
Attempt eight - SUCCESS! Oh no, actually, the cone's gone out...
Attempt nine - Lit cone, *turned* to blow out match, let the cone start to glow, blew out the flame...and, finally, it worked!
There was a subtle lavender aroma in the kitchen area for hours afterwards, which was lovely walking to and fro. My sense of smell isn't great but passing between kitchenette, utility nook and bedroom I usually get a waft of the rubbish bin (loooovely) so this was very nice. So nice, in fact, I lit another incense cone the next day, and another a couple of days later. It's a nice way to freshen up the air - certainly better than room freshener spray, I think. I still have the emergency mug of water each time, but I haven't used it.
I proudly told my mum on the phone about my little triumph, saying that I'd always had this silly fear that the match would snap and the flaming tip go flying, catching fire to something. Haha, silly me. Then Mum kindly pointed out that in fact, this can happen, and does happen...
So I'm a little scared again. But I think perhaps a normal, rational amount?