I am bothered by this sentence. " In a little while he would add another log or two and settled back with a happy memory of a painter he’d met in Macombe Alley. The telephone rang"
I think I know why...but sometimes things I just not clear when you're writing...even after you've walked away and done other things...The transition is off...In the original, it read almost the same..."but instead" was thrown in instead of "and"...
I think the whole sentence needs to be re-worked to flow into action without causing me to pause every time I read it.
What about: Revised...
A little while later he added another log and settled back with memories of a painter he’d met in Macombe Alley. The telephone rang
(Delete "would" and delete "a happy memory")