Please don’t read if you’re expecting x-rated disclosure!
With a lot of sweeps on the road there are a lot of stories told when we get together. Many are chimney related – clogged up flues, tallest, widest, deepest chimneys, tar that a road builder would be proud of. But we thought we’d share the human stories since it is our customers who make our work important.
The Scary Moment
When one of our team showed up at a home he knocked at the door and rang the doorbell as you do…but no reply. Next stop, pick up the phone. He could hear the mobile ringing in the house so he moved to the window to see if he could see anyone. And there on the sofa was a body. Not moving. Despite a loud phone ringing to his side. We have a plan in these circumstances. We call again to check, we check with the office to see if there is any other number or they have any knowledge of the customer. And then we call the police. Luckily for this fella, on the second call the ‘body’ on the sofa moved, revealing a large bottle of whiskey. He was most apologetic when he finally got to the door – our sweep had to hold his breath in case he became drunk on the fumes
Many of our customers offer us a drink – a mug of hot tea or coffee is always very welcome. Some provide it with a biscuit. But one of our team was absolutely made up when visiting the home of a very famous man (a Sir, no less) who had staff to help. He was shown into the drawing room and began work as normal when the wife (a Lady) of the man arrived bearing a silver tray with a bone china cup and saucer, a plate of biscuits and a slice of cake. She stopped to talk with the sweep and make sure he was fine – what a charming lady.
Our team work hard. Often they go into a home when the slow cooker has filled the house with wonderful food smells. There is nothing more mouth-watering though than a cake being baked. The sweep in this case mentioned that it smelt wonderful and, by his own admission, was really hoping for a piece as it smelt so good. He completed his sweep in the normal way and headed off, a little sad that no cake was forthcoming. The customer asked where he was off to next and it was in the same village so he didn’t have far to travel. As he completed his next job, he heard the customer answer the doorbell. It was his first customer with a cake delivery and an apology – she was hoping the cake would have been ready when he was there but he had to go before it was done…so she had found his van and delivered a piece of freshly baked sponge. Wow!
We took a booking one day for a lady who was expecting twins. She alerted us to this because she was concerned that even though she had booked an appointment she may have to postpone at the last moment. We were fine with that and our sweep duly turned up and found the house empty but a note on the door – “Dear Mr Wilkins, the babies are arriving. Please let yourself in and sweep in both rooms. Could you lock up on your way out and pop the key back through the door please?” Such composure. The story didn’t quite end there because one of the other team members happened to be sweeping at her Dad’s home and there was a lot of celebration going on that day. A little PS here…we noted there were no carbon monoxide alarms at the house so we installed them…babies are at greater risk than adults and we felt some responsibility as the customer’s ‘first’ thought in labour was to let us know!
There are hundreds more stories to share but just one last one… I married my chimney sweep!
Thank you to all of our wonderful customers.
Wishing you a great weekend and penultimate day of Chimney Fire Safety Week.