Since my gas boiler isn't working properly at the moment, it's quite useful to have the fireplace as a backup source of heat. In previous years, I've wound up sleeping in the lounge, but it's not quite that chilly yet. I've now tried out my toasting fork for the first time: it's a bit more labour intensive than using an electric toaster, and the bread did taste a bit sooty, but there is something nice about sitting by the fire eating hot buttered toast. (Ok, technically I used Flora Pro-Activ Light margarine rather than butter, but near enough.)
More generally, there are aesthetic benefits to a fireplace that you don't get with a radiator. When I put the kindling on, it made loud snapping noises; the wood stayed in one piece, but it really did sound like a loud version of Rice Krispies. Once the "coal" started burning, it made a quieter crackling noise, and every so often I'd hear the pile shift (as lumps got smaller) or hear the ash dropping down through the grate. These sounds are a bit more subtle, so they get drowned out by the TV, but I'm starting to think that it's a bad habit of mine to leave the TV on in the background if there's nothing particular I want to watch. So, instead I just sat by the fire in my armchair, reading a book, and enjoying the warmth and the sounds. Simple pleasures, but they make me happy.