Katie says Farewell to German Chimney Sweep Juliane

I sit here cosy and warm beside my glowing ESSE Stove writing this month’s Katie says Farewell to german chimney sweep Juliane 1Sweep Diary, early as ever at 5am on a Saturday Morning, after just returning from Leeds Bradford airport where I have just said a sad goodbye to our truly lovely German chimney sweeper friend Juliane.

For those of you who may have missed last month’s fireplace.co.uk entry I shall give you a quick recap… I have had the honour of having a special visitor all the way from Stuttgart, Germany. Juliane has been working and staying with myself and my family here in North Yorkshire over the last 6 weeks. We have had so many adventures and so much fun, as well as both learning loads about each other’s culture, language and all importantly Chimney Sweeping styles. Juliane is very passionate about her work, as am I, so we have a great deal in common and we have got along like a house on fire! … or should that be a chimney on fire!

Juliane adapted to UK sweeping with no problem at all and is certainly a true professional.

But we have not just had Juliane confined to Yorkshire, she really has travelled the length and breadth of our beautiful United Kingdom. Visiting the North, East, South and west of England, East and West of Scotland, and North-West Wales. All Stunning locations.

Katie says Farewell to german chimney sweep Juliane 2By having us as a main base here in York, Juliane has been able to travel, stay and work with other Chimney sweeps who have been kind enough to also warmly welcome her in to their homes and day to day sweeping lives. What a brilliant way to really see the world, on tour with a fellow sweep.

Anyhow, I will let Juliane herself tell you all about it as she has done a fantastic written account of what it has been like for her on her traveling adventure. A brilliant read to follow my contribution and all in excellent English. (You should be very proud of your English speaking and writing development Juliane. It is excellent … you put me to shame with my 10 words of German that I know!)

Juliane is now an honouree member of our family. It has been brilliant for us all and Juliane will be dearly missed by all my family members young and old and of course all the Katie Sweep team.

On a closing note from me, Juliane’s Visit has made me realise how Lucky I am to live in such a beautiful part of the world, with the best family and friends a girl could wish for with obviously the best Job in the World! It has also shown how important friendship is in life in general as well as in our chimney sweeping profession across the world.

For my own traveling adventures I plan to next year attend the annual Santa Maria Maggiore (SMM) International Chimney Sweep Festival held in Italy, were we will be able meet once again with Juliane and all the black brothers and sisters from around the world.

Happy Sweeping Friend  x

Take a look at Katie Sweeps other diary entries click here.

Juliane Schroeder

Power of Our Chimney Sweeper Trade/ A Great Chimney Sweep Experiment: What Happens if Two Good Luck Charms Come Together?

Power of our chimney sweeper trade 1Non scholae sed vitae discimus- A Roman Quote and my philosophy of life which means "We do not learn for school, but for life".

My name is Juliane Schroeder, I am 20 years old and this summer I passed my final examination in chimney sweeper craft successfully.

I really love my job, especially because in Germany we are still a symbol for luck. Also for safety, fire protection, independent advice and environmental protection.

We are the craftsmen and craftswomen in black, who balance on the roof, drinking coffee is our occupational!
“One for all and all for one” is our chimney sweeper slogan in Germany.  And just like our slogan, the chimney sweeper lady from York, Katie Wiggins wrote in her last newsletter for fireplace.co.uk:

“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. “
An amazing message and one more reason for going abroad after my three-year apprenticeship to learn more about our chimney sweeper trade and our black brothers and sisters.

After my little post on the International Chimney Sweep forum on Facebook, I got lots of good responses! The chimney sweeper lady Katie Wiggins offered for me to stay and spend some time with her and her family.
And so, after a door is closing forever, with the completion of my chimney sweeper training in Germany, a red English door opened in front of me…

On the last day of September, after several months of intensive e-mail exchange with Katie, I’m heading to visit her and her family in North Yorkshire, England. I felt like a little Hobbit, leaving Auenland for an adventure in the country of Harry Potter! Indeed from the first day I felt comfortable with Katie, her husband Tom and their two small children, they did everything possible to offer me a warm welcome.

I realise quickly that chimney sweeping in the UK is completely different. The chimney sweeper skills and tasks I learned here in the UK comprised of:

Rotary Power Sweeping of domestic chimneys and biomass boilers.
Maintenance: renewal of ropes on stove doors and repairing with fire cement.
Smoke evacuation Check
Fault finding: compliance with regulations, smoke spillage, checking of stove component and checking that carbon monoxide alarms were fitted.
CCTV inspection
Passing information to the customers
Fitting bird guards on the chimney

By the way, here are some of our German chimney sweeper tasks in comparison:

First quickly: for the safety of every customer it is law to get the chimney swept and have the boiler system checked. In Germany there are districts for chimney sweeper masters. You are a master after a special master’s examination, which is very hard. But you can sweep chimneys by yourself after a three-year apprenticeship which includes a lot of physics and mathematical learning and also lots of laws…

Cleaning and checking chimneys of fireplaces and central heating systems (also oil and gas) with line and weight. This is law for every customer with heating system! Safety first.
Doing emission measurements on gas/oil central heating systems like condensing boilers (there is a 15-step schedule, e.g. controlling exhaust gas emissions.
controlling the air vent maintenance and inspection of the pipes of central heating systems.
checking smoke detectors.
safety checks and passing information for the customers.

Power of our chimney sweeper trade 2We’re not cleaning living room stoves, because they aren’t used the same way as they are by customers in the UK, for instance we don’t burn Coal. You can see, there are lots of differences. For me it was an exciting way of learning.
I had a lot of positive experiences. The work with Katie and her new trainee Jen and Katie’s Husband Tom was very instructive and varied.
Furthermore, Ray Allott, a chimney engineer and good friend of Katie and Tom, took me for along for a few days with him and showed me how to repair chimneys. They were great days!
A peak in my time here was the visit with the Scottish chimney sweeper Kenny Paterson and his family near Aberdeen that Katie helped to organise. Thank you for this great stay!
Then Katie and I took a trip to Wales to visit CAT the ‘Centre for Alternative Technologies’ and gathered great knowhow- advisable for old and young!

The absolute highlight was London! Here I was the guest of German chimney sweeper Sascha Meding and his family! I had a lot of great educational experiences in this busy area of London and really enjoyed it. Also thank you very much to Sascha!
I am very thankful for all these experiences and the insightful views I was privileged to have with our chimney sweeper colleagues. They were positive without exception in cleanliness, service and customer-friendliness! We’re defining our reputation in our chimney sweeper trade!

Sometimes it’s worth looking beyond what you know, make new experiences in different sectors and to socialise with workmates. Also, to reflect on our own knowledge and improve it.

In this amazingly short time of six weeks I had many valuable work and personal experiences: I learned a completely different method of chimney sweeping and I think my English speaking has improved somewhat.
But I learned much more from Katie and her family: Trust, optimism, patience (especially if you’re with children  regard and respect:

I realised, English people let others finish speaking, I am fascinated!
And smiling - German people need to smile more! Katie supported me with my trips and offered for me a marvellous stay! Sometimes also the chimney sweeper has luck!
Thank you very much!  I think we will meet again next year at SMM

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