Diary of:

Welcome to the diary ramblings of a chimney sweep!!! Jan 2011

Welcome to the 2011 dairy, I would like to wish you all, a tad belated though it may be, a wonderful new year full of adventures, love and laughter!

So where did I leave you, I think taxi owning and loving it!! The taxi has been to the beauty parlour, so all of her wrinkles and rust has disappeared and her paintwork is chip free and gleaming. The taxi light even works! I have commissioned some new letters so that it will say ‘SWEEP’ when lit!! All set for our first wedding fair in March. Not only will you be able to have a sweep attend your wedding but you will be able to be Chimney Sweep Chauffeur driven to your venue in a really shiny and most beautiful taxi.

Snow seems to have been a big feature recently! Here I am in the middle of Exeter with a snow free main road just 45 yards away, so keeping all the chimneys clean and working should not be a problem I hear you cry! It seemed like the longest 45yards in the world, first I had to dig the sweepmobile out, then try to get her up the slope to the main road. No amount of pushing from the neighbours would get her to the gritted tarmac. We even just slid her sideways back in to the parking space! My loving and supportive partner bought out an abundance of home made hot choc for the neighbours, none for me, whilst saying ‘I told her to park on the main road’! So what is a sweep to do! Get the sledge out and play!! The next day conditions in the street were still the same. Loving and supportive partner said that chimneys were in need so I needed to get my tush in gear and sort it! They were right, what was I thinking letting all of my customers down. So warm up the van and sweep the 2 ft of snow off the roof. Do that special revving that you have to do when psyching yourself up and pray that the extra 2 tyres on the back will get me up the hill!! Big Ta Daa!! On to the luxury of gritted tarmac and off to Exmouth for my first job. A happy, braved the elements and won, sweep!! So first job down, driving on to the next one. Loud, strange and oh so very bad noise coming from the engine. Then the sudden disappearance of all gears apart from 3rd! Why hadn’t I gone sledging!! Hands free call to the garage who can not get their tow truck out because of the snow. There is nothing for it but to drive in 3rd not slowing down unless I absolutely and I mean absolutely have to whilst shouting ‘get out of the way I cant stop’ really, really loudly out of the window. More than a few harrowing near misses later I arrive at the garage. But what about all of the people with un-clean chimneys I hear you cry! There was nothing else for it, I gleaned my kit down to the bare essentials, a hoover, my rods, 4 brushes, gaffa tape, 1 tool box, 8 assorted dust sheets, large flashlight, pink hard hat and I decided against the partridge in the pear tree and I walked, maybe that should read slid! Luckily the first customer was only a mile or so from the garage. The rest were done by bus! One client, after he had heard my plight when I was calling to apologise for being tardy, even met me at the bus stop and helped me schlep the kit to his chimney. He got a discount!! Home that night and a long hot bath to ease my aching shoulders.

Not sure how many of you like bad B movies! I am a sort of hide behind the sofa sort of girl! Let me share an excellent plot and story line with you! Very much based on a true story!! Picture the scene – a beautiful manor house in the rolling Devon countryside. I arrive to sweep, the inside of the house is stunning, the type that I could afford if I win the lottery jackpot a couple of times. The master of the house lets me in, shows me to the fire place in the drawing room and leaves me to it. They have not used it for a while so needed it swept before it was lit. I prepare my kit. No problems at first, rods go up like a dream, then…… we hit a blockage, (possibly now we could introduce anticipation building music!). I bring the rods down when it becomes clear that just brute force is not going to shift it. I put on my special pokey attachment, ( can you tell that I am a proper sweep! I have the lingo and everything!!). I rod back up the chimney and start to do the pokey thing in earnest. (queue building of tension music!) Twigs start to fall. I look at what has come down the chimney so that I can see what I am dealing with. (Crescendo of music…..I find nothing of interest so music falls back to tension building). Back to the poking! More nest starts to fall, and more and more… then (big build up in music!!) a strange noise, accompanied by twigs falling then big sort of wet thud in the fire place. Strange noise continues, I just cant work it out, I cant quite place it. As I peer through the dust, soot and debris that has filled the air, I start to make out a moving sort of black mass, (hide behind the sofa music blaring now!!!) Brain just starting to filter the information, face going from extreme confusion to abject terror!!!!! A dead something big has come down the chimney with a now very cross swarm of angry, buzzing things that are intent on me for the main course!! I start to shift!! Cant remember where the door is!! I am a dirty sweep running for her life with no regard for the cream carpets!! I find the door after a couple of false starts, big mass of buzzy ravenous beasties still in hot pursuit. I think it is now that I start screaming, but I have to be honest I am not really sure when it started!! It to the hall, I see the front door, I keep running!! I fling the door open……. cut to lovely day in the Devon countryside, master of the manor back from his stroll, just about to open the front door when it is flung open by a dirty, still screaming sweep with, whatA seems to be, a very large, loud black cloud for a head. Sweep and master of the manor both hit the deck. The swarm circles them menacingly (in the film twice for effect!!) then heads off in to the sunshine!! I go back to clean up the mess and deal with the cadaver. Why don’t I get danger money for this job again!! Tune in next time for more sweep tales of terror and thrills if you dare!!!!!!!!!

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