Katie Sweep Summer Showtime

Over the last few months we have been busy preparing for, and attending a number of our local Country & Agricultural shows as a Chimney Sweep trade stall, perhaps not your conventional tweed clothing or jam stall but over the years we have found it works really well, As we are quite well known in the area people like to come and have a good chat and get booked in for their annual sweep. It serves as a good reminder as having the chimney swept is not often on the priority list in July and August, and of course there are still a handful of people who don’t even think that chimney sweeps still existed, and we are almost a mythical thing like fairy’s or unicorns, so we also go and help educate people on the importance of a regular sweep and help and answer related questions people may have.

Katie Sweep 1

This all started around 5 years ago when I first went along to Tockwith and district agricultural show with my van, a trestle table and a few chimney pots, dragging my husband Tom and Diesel our Great Dane along with me (people always like to chat to Diesel)

We had such a good day sitting out in our fold out chairs through a whole range of great British weather, chatting to regular and new customers and taking lots of bookings for the coming weeks and months. We were so popular that I even completely ran out of business cards and had to scribble my contact details on scraps of paper to give to people.  It was such a success and we have since attended every year.

This year we thought we would also go along to a few other shows and we were invited along to the very nice Arthington Show. We had a great day out with Val & Danielle manning the sweep stall as I was mainly occupied with keeping the two children amused, happy and fed, luckily a country show is the perfect place to do so, for a few hours at least.

The day ended in a truly dramatic style and after a pleasant and sunny day, very quickly black clouds descended and an all mighty storm hit, fortunately for me myself and family had left by this point, but poor Val & Danielle along with all the other stall holders, livestock exhibiters, horse competition competitors & visitors all got caught up in it. A mad rush commenced to get everything packed up before it blew/washed away. Unfortunately when collapsing our gazebo the wind caught it, breaking & twisting the entire aluminium frame and giving poor Danielle a good bash on the head, oww.

The super brilliant sweep ladies, after getting all packed up themselves kindly stayed to assist the jam lady in the neighbouring gazebo as she was on her own and struggling in the wind. It was reported that several company’s tents and gazeboes were blown clean away across the Yorkshire countryside.

We didn’t have much more successes with the weather when we went along to Aldbrough and Boroughbridge Agricultural show, which this year was held at Dishforth airfield, so by its very nature it was a very open and exposed site and very very windy. So much so that a few hours in Val had opted to take our brand new gazebo down to prevent a repeat performance like the show a few weeks previously. But again an enjoyable day.

These two shows were in lead up to ‘The Big One’ our main and local Show at Tockwith, Over the past few years it is fair toKatie Sweep 2say we have become a little competitive in pursuit of winning best in trade stall, last year we were told we had narrowly missed out on winning when we had taken along our life sized yellow sign affectionately known as Mr Lucy. So a few weeks prior to the show work began on the 8 foot chimney stack!

After a little sketching, some excellent construction work and an old electric fire curtesy of my step dad Gordon, and many an hour I spent painting the chimney in my kitchen on an evening, the project was complete. The idea behind it was that our stall should be more interactive, so the chimney stack was designed so children… both young and old (aka adults) could push the sweep rods up the chimney, only by a foot or so and with this the brush would pop out from the chimney pot (plant pot) and the children could then make a wish, as is tradition.  This went down a treat with all the children and their family’s really enjoying a little fun. Sadly we didn’t win stall of the year and were defeated by an Alpaca wool producer who had taken along baby alpacas, so I don’t feel too sad about that as they were very lovely baby Alpacas.

So it’s back to the drawing board and we already have lots of fantastic ideas in the pipe line and must try to remember it’s not the winning but the taking part that counts.


Read more from Katie Sweeps Diary https://www.fireplace.co.uk/chimney-sweep-diarist/59


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