A Sweeps Van is a Girls’ Best Friend….

Leading with the old saying I mentioned in my last month’s fireplace.co.uk diary piece - ‘Out with the old and in with the new’

For us this January that statement very much rings true, as we have said a sad farewell to our well-loved, loyal, hardworking and fairly grubby old sweep vans. Val sweep in particular was most sadden to say good bye to her 03 reg Vauxhall Combi van that started out as my very own wonderful little sweep van back when I first started up as a chimney sweep in 2007 where it all began.

It really has been the very best little van and shared so many adventures with us A Sweeps Van 1over the years. Even with all its quirks!... such as the dials that indicting the speed, revs & fuel not always working correctly… and on a frosty morning having to use the ice scraper to de-ice the windscreen both outside and in… and most recently Val sweep had reported a pond appearing in the driver’s foot well on rainy days! So much so she ended up with soaking wet socks on a couple of occasions, yet still she never had a bad word to say about the little Combi van.

With all its rusty, wet, sooty charm, that little van mechanically carried on regardless and I am quite sure it will continue to do so if it is not destined for the scrap yard, but its fate was sealed when our much newer VW caddy van had become rather unpredictable and the mechanic forecast that some rather expensive future repairs may be required, I decided it was finally time to call it a day with the constant steady stream of repair bills & upgrade to something a little more fitting for a team of professional chimney sweeps.

So as we said goodbye to our well-loved old vans we say hello to the brand new shiny, all singing, all dancing sweep vans, our new 56 plate Citroen Berlingos! What a change for the lady sweeps! With them arriving as standard with sat nav, parking sensors, cruse control, dab radio & so many other amazing features, but best of all for me is that they are pretty much guaranteed to start on a morning, it really is the simple things in life.

A Sweeps Van 2Upon taking delivery of our new fleet I found myself reminiscing of the good old days we had in the old vans… and oh what fun. Up vertical hill’s and down snowy dale’s, through busy town’s and across the Yorkshire countryside, I have driven from jobs with the van back doors open (fortunately realizing before anything fell out the back). Got lost many, many times, given customers lifts to be helpful, had a few flat tires, driven through floods, storms, snow & ice, driven on many a precarious country road, I have had to be towed out of muddy bogs and spent many an hour queuing in traffic jam.

I have listened to the whistling sound the ladders make when strapped to the roof bars and listened to many BBC radio 2 shows over the years whilst commuting between jobs, and I am still rubbish at pop master. I was very surprised one cold frosty day to arrive at my first job of the day to find my cup of tea that I had been drinking before I set off from home whilst deicing the van was still sat there on the van roof! It had frozen solid and I had forgotten I had left it there!

I have driven home with boxes of rescued baby jackdaws on the passenger seat, I have had customer’s cats and occasionally even their dogs sneakily clambering in to the back of the van when unloading and reloading equipment, I have had the odd bump to a customer’s low garden wall and I have had to be recovered due to mechanical failure once or twice.
I am quite sure our mechanics will miss seeing us on a regular basis, they have come to know us and the vans well.A Sweeps Van 3
Something I have discovered over the years is how important our vans are at portraying our company image, I have always had the sweep vans well sign written and this has proven invaluable, they are in essence a walking, well driven advertisement. A great deal of work comes from people spotting our vans in their street or if they have been following behind us whilst driving. The vans are at a glance very obviously chimney sweep vans, and this seems to just give people that little reminder that they so often need that they really should get their chimney swept.

What fun our sweeping journey has been so far and I am absolutely sure it will continue to be so in the complete comfort of the new vans with all their mod cons. So although it is a sad farewell, we all really love the new additions to the katie sweep team. So forget the Diamonds, and sorry to correct you Shirley Bassey, but a sweep van really is a girl’s best friend. On a foot note I am pleased to say York seems to have dried out and I for one am welcoming the bit of cold seasonal weather that has finally arrived, although I am not sure if it is to last all that long? I am quite sure a bit of a chill in the air will certainly benefit everyone in our area of work so let’s hope the cold weather hangs on in there a little longer.


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


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