Katie Sweep - Happy New Year 2017

Hello 2017, and here we go again…

I am not one for new year’s resolutions, so I shan’t be bothering with any of that, but as ever I Katie Sweep- happy new year 2017do have a loooong list of plans and ideas that I hope to put in to action hopefully in the early months of 2017. The only issue being is these plans all seem to require a great deal of time to get them up and running and time is something I have precious little of.

Work (aka sweeping and all the numerus job roles that come with it), the children, and life in general, don’t really leave much time for getting any of the things on my ‘to-do list’ (that is stored safely in in my head) ticked off.

As I write this, I am sat making the most of that funny bit of time in-between Christmas and New Year (doing my very best to ignore my mental to-do/must-do list), with the stove lit, surrounded by oodles of children’s toys and noisy children, half watching naff Christmas telly with a mug of tea and a large tub of Roses chocolates, enjoying a well earnt rest after some serious grafting over the past few months. With no sweeps booked in until January and no overly pressing sweep business to attend to I am resting. Bliss! …This is a real moment.

I am however still in charge of monitoring the sweep phone, as Alison our receptionist enjoys her well-deserved Christmas holidays, but I will not be rushing to return any non-urgent customer calls for booking enquires this week, I have left a nice jolly answering machine message explaining it will be business as usual w/c the 3rd January and wishing them a very Merry Christmas. Most people are more than understanding of this.

Of course,… like every year, we did have people ringing on the evening of the 23rd of December hoping we could just pop along and sweep the chimney! One lady who rang had not had her chimney swept for 7 years previous and suddenly was quite concerned she may be at risk of a chimney fire over Christmas and could not wait! Sighhh! I suggested she have a ring around and if needed to, call back in the new year if she could not find another local sweep who could attend sooner.

Although I had planned to be doing NO sweeping what so ever until Tuesday the 3rd January 2017 when normality resumed, there was one chimney I could not resist!

I was contacted on Boxing day by my cousin John who had very recently moved in to his new home, that also happened to be what was once my childhood home for several years, of which I have many fond memories of. When he explained, he had gone to light their stove in their new home and it had smoked in to the room, I was quite happy to go (leaving the
post-Christmas squabbling children for a few hours peace) in discovery of what may be the cause? It turned out not to be a blockage in the flue as I anticipated… although there was certainly enough soot in there to cause such an issue. The smoke entering the room was in-fact a result of a poor installation, with the flue pipe connections of the back of the stove not being fully connected and on an angle, allowing smoke to escape from the connection to the horizontal T piece and out of the back of the stove and directly in to the room. After sweeping and with some manoeuvring and fire cement this was remedied, and it was all good to go.

Katie Sweep- happy new year 2017 2The farm cottage had certainly changed a lot from way back in 1986 when my parents first moved there, but it still maintained a warm sense of home for me. After a nice trip down memory lane, I headed back home to my own little family, my stove and the Christmas chocolates and set about digging out the old photo albums, managing to find a picture I remembered I had of baby Katie (me) at 20 months old, sat on the sheep skin rug in front to the farm cottage open fire. How wonderful, who would have thought 30 years later I would be sat in the same place sweeping the very same chimney. How interesting life really is.

So!... Who on Christmas morning itself, has their customers visiting? No? just me then? It has somehow turned into a bit of a Christmas tradition that an elderly gentlemen customer of ours cycles all the way to our house from a nearby village with gifts for my children on Christmas day morning every year!... just like Father Christmas I suppose.

He has done this now for the last 3 years. At first, we thought it was slightly peculiar, but as he has no close family with little ones himself, he seems to have adopted us. This year we expected him and had his Christmas card at the ready. Sure, enough on Christmas morning, there came a knock at the door and we invited him in for a cup of tea, a mince pie and a good chat… after all that is the true spirit of Christmas.

Well I suppose I best bring my Januarys sweep diary to a close as I really could go on and on about the many amazing business changes and improvements 2016 has brought for myself and the sweep team, (most of which are mentioned in my previous fireplace.co.uk diaries) with some huge changes in the form of our posh new vans, the move across to full Power sweeping and Chimney CCTV, and a very big change in my household with my super Husband Thomas Wiggins taking the brave leap to also becoming a chimney sweep with his very own enterprising business Biomass sweeping solutions ltd. Find out more about Thomas Wiggins and Biomas Sweeping Solutions)

2017 is a very special year for me as come September I will be celebrating a full 10 years as a chimney sweep. Wow, how time fly’s when you’re having fun!

There is certainly never a dull day in the life of a chimney sweep and I very much look forward to the adventures 2017 has in store.

I wish you all a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year x 

Find previous Katie Sweep diary entries click here


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