thanks for the reminder Wayland - my grandparents used the burning sheet of newspaper up the chimney too, I'd forgotten all about that.My Nan always had a tin of paraffin in the porch with kindling standing in it for lighting the coal fire.
The kindling was made from old railway sleepers that my brother and I had to saw and split whenever we were there on holiday.
I don't know what age it was that I started that job but it was pretty young.
She used to use paper splints for the gas and clean the chimney by putting a loose sheet of newspaper over the coals, lighting it and letting it float up the chimney, flash burning the soot on the way. Did it every day so it didn't build up. Never had to get the sweep in.
She was a canny old girl.
I still use the knotted newspaper to light the fire - don't see the point in buying firefighters when these work fine. Often use them to light the Kelly kettle as well but I've never tried them as the sole fuel like Toddy has. Will have to give it a go - always got plenty of old newspapers hanging around.