It’s that time of year again

Some nine years ago , on the 28/10/2011 my father passed away ending an era that began in 1965 and lasting some 46 years in its entirety. I normally always write some kind of post to remind myself of the, “good old days” as I am a wee bit sentimental but not daft enough to think everything was all a bed of roses.

For instance there was the time when the roof man sent the ball and brush down a wrong chimney due to a broken bridge inside the stack. The first my father knew of it was when the old lady next door came out to complain… totally covered in soot. I remember well him telling me she looked like a cartoon character that had been blown up by a bomb when she took off her glasses.

My mother too had her version of the same story to tell , although her story didn’t begin until he had brought the old ladies clothes and Eider duck down continental quilt home for her to wash. I can only imagine she startled the whole street with her screams as a thousand duck feathers started flying around her kitchen.

These days the sweeping process has evolved somewhat and we use a power sweeping system that means we almost always do not have to climb and put ourselves at risk of falling from a great many heights. In the good old days we had to keep our climbing skills top notch as the Scottish sweeping system was the same as most of the rest of Europe (not rods and brush like in England) a ball and brush going from top down.
My father and a few of his , “roof men” all had their turns at falling off. Fortunately , as far as I can remember nobody was unlucky enough to get seriously injured. Their stories of how lucky they were impressed on me enough to ensure I never fell myself.

Perhaps the best old school stories were of some of the customers themselves , you get to meet all sorts of people in the course of sweeping chimneys. There once was an old lady who had every electric socket in her house filled with plugs and went to great pains to ensure we immediately replaced her plug once our hoover plug was removed…. in case the electric escaped into the house? This was the 1970’s and she was very old at the time so we guessed she must have thought electric worked something like gas.

Despite the many changes in modern society itself and the sweeping profession , some things never change. Soot is still carcinogenic , we still get dirty even with double gloves , PPE3 face masks and face wipes. I will always be impatient for the decontamination shower & scrub clean at the end of the day. Even after a whole weekend off I still blow the odd black snot out my nose ; trying hard not to imagine how much I have absorbed or what the death dust is doing to my anatomy.
Nobody can factor the health risks we undergo into the modest fee we receive for sweeping a flue and keep its occupants safe…. there is also much more to running a business , just the admin alone itself takes up a considerable amount of time & energy.

Oh well , another year has passed dad…. I will Always love and miss you.