December the Busiest Time of Year for a Chimney Sweep

Well it’s that time of year again folks, with the Christmas chimney sweeping deadline looming. It December the Busiest Time of Year for a Chimney Sweep 1seems that the whole world requires their chimney sweeping before Christmas! This article will cover.

 

Why Christmas is a busy time of year for Chimney Sweeps

Chimney Sweeps and Christmas Traditions

What are Marconi Chimney pots?

 

Why Christmas is a busy time of year for Chimney Sweeps

Regardless of if they have already been using it for weeks, months or years, all of a sudden it requires sweeping immediately before Christmas, and ‘’do we have availability next Tuesday?”! Unfortunately, we do not and have been heavily booked up for quite some time and are now taking bookings for the new year. But no, they cannot possibly wait until January, although most do ring back after a ring around when they realise all sweeps are just the same at this time of year.

My favourite customer enquiry was a nice gentleman who called, who could not possibly wait that long, who then quickly returned the call to say that his wife insists they book an appointment as if we are that busy we must be exceedingly good! Which of course we are!

To squeeze everyone in and make the most of our days, and the daylight, we (being myself and Val sweep) have been arriving at our first appointment of the day bright and early at 7am!

This seems to work well for catching the first light of day and for being able to actually see the chimney pot, stack etc.. (always helpful). The early start also works well for our customers who are at work for around 9am or doing school runs, or even those with younger children like myself who are always up at that time regardless.

Pre-Christmas is, as everyone knows, the time of year that chimneys and fireplaces need to be prepared for a very special visitor!... No not us sweeps, but our friend Father Christmas.

Chimney Sweeps and Christmas Traditions

I do love when there are little ones at home when I’m going along to sweep the chimney, and letting them know how it is very December the Busiest Time of Year for a Chimney Sweepimportant to have the chimney swept to make sure Father Christmas can get down the chimney, and how it is my job to clean all the soot from the chimney so that when he arrives on Christmas eve he doesn’t make any mess when he comes down the chimney. If the circumstances are right I also send the children…and the adults out in to the garden to make a wish as is tradition when the brush, or now power sweeping whip head springs from the chimney pot.

I read somewhere a few weeks back a lovely story of a chimney sweep who, when sweeping the chimney, if children were present, after sweeping would show them the soot that had come down the chimney along with a very special little bit of red fabric! This of course had to be a little bit of Father Christmas’s red outfit that must have got snagged in the chimney from his last visit. How wonderful.

I, today in particular, have had to contend with a lot of highly decorated Hearths! strewn with such things as snowmen, little trees, glittery things, general knick-knacks and excessive candles. There have also been some beautifully decorated Christmas trees, although peoples Christmas trees do seem to be appearing earlier ever year, with a few I spotted springing up in mid-November, a bit too early for me!

We do even have a customer who comes to mind who actually keep their Christmas decorations up all year round in one room, then at Christmas time they just go in, use that room, then leave it again until the following year! Bizarre to say the least, but that is one of the many things I love about being a sweep, we do get a glimpse into every walk of life.

Even with working nearly every hour there is I did manage to escape work for a weekend and head up to Scotland at the end of November to join a group of my family and friends staying in a most beautiful Landmark Trust property, Auchinleck house in Scotland

December the Busiest Time of Year for a Chimney Sweep 3Being a chimney sweep and with my main obsession in life being chimneys I had to investigate all the chimneys of the 18th century country house.

There were many fireplaces, some in use, some like the bedroom ones had been blocked off. The one in the kitchen was being put to good use as an extractor fan! Within the Library, where we spent a lot of our relaxing time, there were 2 hob-grate fires, one at each end! The one we used being exceedingly inefficient and smoky…and the other we dare not light as it was down drafting due to conflict of air flow, with the one acting like an air feed to the other! Let’s just say we burnt a lot of logs and were not very warm.

What are Marconi Chimney Pots?

Whenever I have been in Scotland, since being a sweep, I have often looked up to the Scottish chimney pots and wondered about a certain cowling frequently used on Scottish pots (almost looks like an upside-down terracotta bucket). I have even in the past googled them to no avail at that time.

So on this trip when I spotted them again I decided to send a message to a fellow NACS member and Scottish sweep Mr Keith Price to ask if he could help me, and that he could.

December the Busiest Time of Year for a Chimney SweepKeith gave me some brilliant information and these are in fact special chimney pots a bit like Marconi Chimney pots in that they allow air in and up to aid with the draw, helping to prevent down draft and so on, Keith even took the time to send me some diagrams he had. Thanks, Keith, I am very pleased to finally know their purpose and I will now be much happier in the know as I drive through Scotland in the future.

It is fantastic to see how the internet has helped unite Chimney Sweeps, regardless of location, be it across the country or across the world, and almost all are willing to help each other out and share their experiences and knowledge to help a fellow Sweep. It makes me very proud to be a Chimney Sweep alongside my black brothers and sisters around the world.

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and New Year, I know a well-earned rest will be very much deserved for all, I am looking forward to mine.

Happy Sweeping, Happy Christmas!

Read other Katie Sweep diary entries. Click here.

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