Chapter 126 – The Fire Starter

The stairs beneath comprise three sets of thirteen, and I lift my Stephenson lamp before descending the sandstone steps to the slate floor beneath. I set the fire by spreading the andirons and stacking oak logs on a bed of kindling, culminating in a process holding a business lesson for all to consider.

In 1826, John Walker invented the friction match, utilising Henning Brandt’s discovery of phosphorous in the 17th century. Brandt wasted years attempting to turn metal into gold, rather than using this ‘light-bearer’ to safely make fire: an ironic example of chasing an imaginary pot of gold while ignoring a more straightforward path towards great riches.

The fire explodes into life, and I settle into a large chair, open my journal and compose the next chapter of the business plan. I race up the stairs, roll a map of Great Britain across the desk and carefully draw a circle around our next target for expansion: the conclusion of today’s work. This new location will complement the existing Glasgow and Edinburgh offices, with a new London base opening next year.

I sit back and recall the image of Henry Carey laughing in the train station, where I told him his greatest undoing would be looking South for his greatest challenge. Hilariously, Henry thought I was only talking about football.

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