Mention the words “chimney sweep” to most people and the first thing they typically think of is Burt, the character played by Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. It’s a wonderful family movie, no question about it. And Burt’s a fun guy. But the similarities pretty much end with the job label.
The following are things I’ve never done during the course of a job:
1) Sang and danced (talk about dangerous!) on a rooftop – though I’m not immune to quietly
humming some of my favorite tunes while hard at work
2) Laughed so hard I levitated off the ground
3) Created a chalk drawing world that I jumped into for a fun afternoon outing
4) Taken a break to put on a one-man band skiffle show for commuters in a neighborhood park
5) Worn a top hat while on a job. Seriously – how inconvenient!
No, more often than not, the job is significantly less glamorous. The following are steps I frequently complete on a job:
1) Using vacuums and brushes to clean out harmful build-up and trash from the interior of a chimney
2) Removing past or current remnants of animal habitation
3) Fixing cracks in the foundation of a chimney
4) Repairing the flashing surrounding the chimney
And the list goes on.
The point to consider here is this: The chimney sweep stereotype and the realities of the job are two completely different concepts. That said, I love the job and the ways I can help home owners get the most out of their chimneys.
Now back to work! Step in time . . . ahem.