Predictably Unpredictable

Well it appears life is very much like the Great British weather!... warm, Predictably unpredictable 1tranquil and calm one moment… the very next we have artic temperatures, snow and hale!  Well at least we can say that things are never dull. My past month seems to have been mirrored by the weather... I shall start with the pleasant, calm, niceties.

Earlier in the month I once again ventured out of Yorkshire, this time down to Stratford upon Avon for a day out to The NACS (National Association of Chimney Sweeps) 2016 Exhibition. After a long 3-hour drive with husband and 11-and-a-half-month old Son in tow, it was very nice to arrive at the rather swish Holliday Inn to a warm welcome from Martin (NACS President), his lovely wife Junie who is also a chimney sweep, Dave (Head of training), Sally from the office and lovely Bob who oversees assessment in the north east of England, so we have seen Bob quite a few times when doing my own assessment and that of one of the other ladies on my sweep team, so it was nice to see them all on arrival.

Predictably unpredictable 2As it was my first attendance of a NACS exhibition I was not entirely sure what it would comprise of, so after a cup of tea we ventured on to explore the large number of trade stands offering everything from the latest in sweeping technology and flue systems, down to the everyday sweeping essentials. There were all sorts of great products but up there, as one of my favorite items, and something I have not come across before, was a pair of big open slippers that were designed as carpet overshoes to pop on over your work boots, as an alternative to using runner sheets or having to take boots on and off numerous times when entering/exiting a customer’s house. Most probably over their light coloured hall way flooring, when it’s been raining nonstop!, The simple things are often the best.

Through what was overall, a very good day, the only thing I took umbrage with was that so many trade holders automatically presumed it was my husband who was the person they would be dealing with, choosing not to overly engage with me, who was infect the experienced, qualified, and if I do say so myself, successful chimney sweep, even when I was asking the technical question!  it ended up with my husband Tom having to let them know they were talking to the wrong person, resulting in their surprise!

Anyhow, other than that it was a great day seeing all the sightsPredictably unpredictable 3 and sounds of the chimney sweep world, it was very nice to have a good chat in person to a number of businesses and suppliers I am used to chatting with either on the phone or by email. I even happily bumped into fireplace.co.uk ’s very own Editor, Phil Cleaver, another person who I usually communicate with via email so very nice to have a good chat in person. Everyone was exceedingly helpful in keeping my little boy Fitz amused, as typically he was rather grumpy that day, however he was suitably dressed for the occasion and was sporting his “baby sweep” t-shirt, that seemed to make everyone who noticed chuckle.

So after a great day we headed contently home, brimming with ideas for the future and a whole lot of ‘stuff’, comprising of… a goodie bag packed with useful information from HETAS, a lovely Rodtech t-shirt… unfortunately no baby sizes available (something to sort for Hearth and Homes Tony Russel), a Rodstation Cup, a folder packed with loads of great products and information from Flue Supplies and a whole host of Pens from various companies. Thank you to all, it was a brilliant day and well worth the drive, I plan next year to come along child free and also attend the NACS AGM.

A week or so after the NACS exhibition I was thrilled to bits to receive an email from Sally at NACS office informing me I had won first prize in the attendee prize draw, wowwww! The prize been one of the specialist training courses for either ladder safety, smoke testing or CCTV inspection. The latter definitely been my preferred choice as I am much happier keeping my feet on the ground. So I am very much looking forward to attending the training this August.

Predictably unpredictable 1After such a positive start to the month…of course things tend not to stay that way for long…Que the Monday morning storm clouds….Our very nice (now former) receptionist Jessica unfortunately had a sudden change in circumstances, and cutting a long story short she was unable to continue doing the job as we needed, so after what was a seamless transition (obviously too good to be true) we find ourselves back to square one!... and the search continues. Thankfully I think we have the ideal replacement lined up ready to start in the summer, and until then our former former superstar receptionist Danielle has temporarily been able to take the role back on, phew!

So after all that drama, with a bad back thrown in for good measure (the very last thing a chimney sweep needs), I am pleased to report everything else in our day to day sweeping is happily running along nicely with no issues, so all is good in that respect, but no doubt some issue or other will be lurking around the corner…but it can bloomin well stay there for now.
In other big and very good news, drum roll please… I am now officially a HETAS approved registered Chimney Sweep, woohoo. I am now feeling very professional indeed!

This is again another rather long story that will have to be cut short, buPredictably unpredictable 6t in a nutshell this has been a long time coming as I actually completed and passed my HETAS training quite some time ago, before I even did my NACS training. I have finally got organised and processed my application, and I am now delighted to be a HETAS Approved NACS Member chimney sweep…who also happens to have a 2:1 Bachelor of Arts, Design Degree! What a Title!

By far my most favourite title is Mummy, and as I write this today on May day, the 1st of May 2016 it is my little boy Fitzwilliam’s very 1st Birthday. After spending a wonderful day celebrating with friends and family, this evening I am delighted to also discover via the all-knowing Facebook… and how I have not realised this previously I will never know… but the 1st of May is also Chimney Sweep Day! How wonderfully serendipitous.

I wish everyone a very Happy Chimney Sweep day and I hope you have all had the chance to celebrate in merriment over the May day bank Holliday weekend. I am sure those who attended the chimney sweeping festival in Rochester this May day will not have had your spirits dampened by the changeable weather. I think in the future years to come it will make an excellent setting for birthday celebrations… Happy Birthday Fitz x

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