Chimney Sweeping on an International Level

As ever at this time of year I am not entirely sure where I find the time to write my Chimney Chimney Sweeping on an international levelSweep diary? … well I do, its 7am on a Saturday morning after kindly been woken early by the 2-Year-old alarm clock.

This past month or two has been even more manically busier than any usual September to October, as we have been preparing for a very special visitor… not the Queen, but may as well have been.

For weeks prior to our special guest arrival I have been rushing around organising, making plans and preparations and not forgetting all the last min cleaning and tidying … of the sweep van that is!

If you are not a Chimney Sweep then you may not know that we Sweeps are quite an unusual bunch. We are all part of an amazing network of ‘Black Brothers and Sisters’ all bound together by our unique occupation and the love and passion for our work, the rich culture, history and traditions that are all part of it.
I like to think that a Chimney Sweep would always extend a helping sooty hand to another fellow Chimney Sweep as and when they ever needed it.

Via the weird and wonderful world of Facebook, Chimney Sweeps have been able to track one another down and forge little online Chimney Sweep communities where we all share stories (many of them chimney horror stories), help one another out and share amusing and funny anecdote’s, that any non-sweep person would simply not understand nor relate to in any way what so ever.

There are of course one or two trolls in amongst this network but on the whole, it has been really fantastic and has aided in forging Chimney Sweep friendships across the world. I certainly feel very much part of what is like a worldwide chimney sweep family.  Brilliant!

Chimney Sweeping on an International Level 1Queue our guest.

Several months ago, now via Facebook on the ‘Chimney Sweep Forum’ I read a wonderful little post from a lady name Juliane that read as follows;-

Hello Chimney Sweepers!

I’m a chimney sweeper from Germany and I will finished my apprenticeship this summer.

Then I would like to see more about our chimney sweeper craft abroad! I thought there is no better place for it like Facebook!

Some chimney sweepers I have met on the international chimney sweeper meeting in Santa Maria Maggiore- exciting! I really want to do this internship abroad! Does anybody want to help me with a 4- 8 weeks internship in his country?

Please write to me on facebook or per email, hoping to hear from you soon!

I thought this was truly wonderful! What a great idea to do a little traveling and meet, work and learn from another Chimney Sweep from another part of the world.

After a quick discussion with my husband Tom, it was agreed that we were able to help and accommodate Juliane if she so wished to visit us here in England in beautiful North Yorkshire… of course famously known to be ‘Gods own County’!

And that was that! after around 4 months of emails backwards and forwards we made plans and arranged the details and now as I write this, Juliane is currently here staying and working with us for 6 weeks!

One week in she has settled in to our busy English Chimney Sweep lifestyle wonderfully well with no problems at all. Juliane speaks beautiful English… unlike our 10 words of German that we have mustered, with our pronunciation being much to Juliane’s amusement.

It had been truly fascinating for us to learn about German Chimney Sweeping, from a real life German Chimneysweeper, who for me are renowned for being the best educated Chimney Sweeps in the world. Juliane is still in disbelief that in this country anyone can one day decide they are a Chimney Sweep and that our professional training is only held over 4 days! … compared to her minimum 3-year apprenticeship and sweep school specialist education.  As good as our training is she has a point.

"It had been truly fascinating for us to learn about German Chimney Sweeping, from a real life German Chimneysweeper, who for me are renowned for being the best educated Chimney Sweeps in the world"Our two country’s Chimney Sweeping techniques are rather different also! Here in the UK we generally, as a whole, sweep our chimneys UP, using ether the latest power sweeping, traditional sweeping methods or some I know use a viper. The German method (for most cases) is to sweep DOWN! Using a weight, brush and line that is lowered down the chimney from the top of the chimney stack, all accessed via the roof.  Amazing. 

As we see on a daily bassis in the UK our chimneys are not at all designed for such techniques, where as in Germany roof tops are of course very well-designed often with specific access to carry out the important annual sweeping work that is enforced by German law.

Some of these things I already knew a little about, but I have learnt so so so much over the past week, truly fascinating, and as ever I have had a million and one questions to ask Juliane, all of which she has gladly answered.

Unfortunately, there is way too much information on this fascinating topic to squeeze in to my sweep diary. I will endeavour to tell you more next month and I have asked Juliane if she might be able to write about her sweeping experience here in the UK and how it all compares to her day to day sweeping rounds in her home town in Germany.

Juliane still has 5 more weeks of her UK sweeping adventure left, with plans for relining a chimney with our Chimney Engineer friends, A trip to Scotland to stay and work for a short visit with a most wonderful Scottish Chimney Sweeping family, along with a trip to London, Shropshire and Wales and hopeful meeting up with some other Chimney Sweeps acquaintances along the way. Action packed to say the least and I hope we are able to show and demonstrate to our wonderful visiting guest that we are also world class Chimney Sweeps right here in the UK.

I will keep you posted, but until then… Glücklich fegen zu allen.


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