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Birds Nest Removed in Abington

Posted By paddy

Last week I re-attended an address in Abington to remove a bird’s nest from a chimney. I had initially attended the property at the end of May this year when I had swept a Jetmaster open fire configuration in the lounge and attempted to seep a small Coalbrookdale Wood-burning stove in the dining room. I had found that the chimney for this appliance was blocked from the level of the register plate and estimating that the stack was about 14 meters high, I realized that to clear the chimney would take a long and as yet to be determined length of time. Certainly, much longer than I had that day with the number of calls I had booked. I had also noticed that there were Jackdaws perching on the lip of the chimney pot and flying back and forth to the chimney. I surmised that it was these Jackdaws who were the culprits for blocking the chimney with a nest.

Although I’m not much of an ornithologist, I did know something of their nesting habits and was aware that they breed, build or repair their nests between April and July, and that their young are fledged and leave the nest between July and August. So potentially those at the top of the chimney were potentially feeding young in the nest. This would mean that to avoid killing or injuring the young, it would only be safe to sweep the nest towards the end of August.

I additionally knew that although leaving the nest in place until the young are fledged was the ecologically and ethically the right thing to do, it was also a legal requirement. It would actually be breaking the law to attempt to remove the nest in May knowing what I knew and having observed the behaviour of the rooks.

Interestingly, the legislation that covers bird’s nests is ‘The Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981’, The Act states that it is an offence to:

Intentionally kill, injure or take any wild bird

Intentionally take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird
while that nest is in use or being built

Penalties for breaking the law include large fines, or up to 6 months imprisonment or both!

In view of all this I arranged with the customer to re-attend at the end of August.

Upon re-attending the address I removed and inspection hatch in the register plate (it was an old style installation with stove pipe into a register plate with inspection hatches and no liner), and discovered that the void between the register plate and the mouth of the chimney flue (approximately two and a half feet), was entirely filled with compacted tar deposits. Having removed this I encountered about three a half meters of nest material consisting of sticks of varying sizes on top of which were two dead birds, one of which was a Rook. Strangely, there was nothing on top of the dead birds; they seem to have been lying on top of the nest.

The photo I took shows the two dead birds lying on top of one of the trugs containing some of the compacted tar I removed from the chimney.

All in all it was quite a mucky, but satisfying job and the customer was pleased that they could now safely use their stove again.

Another Domestic Pet – A Labradoodle Dog Called Noodle

Posted By paddy

Carrying on the pet theme in thatched animals, I saw this thatched dog at a house in Radwinter where I swept four chimneys recently. The owner told me that they had personally requested the thatcher to make for them a thatch representation of the family pet dog Noodle who is a Labradoodle. If you like me are asking what a Labradoodle is; it is a cross between a Labradore and a poodle. Apparently, this breed of dog does not molt very much. In real life Noodle was a very handsome, active and friendly dog, who wanted to play a lot and get as much attention as he could. He was big on the licking front too and paid particular interest in my dust sheets. I must also add that I thought that his thatched counterpart was a very good likeness of him and one that the customer/owners were very proud of.

New Walden Sweeps Van – Ford Transit Custom

Posted By paddy

My next bit of big news is that I have bought a new bigger van; a Ford Transit Custom. This brand new, larger van gives me much more space for all my equipment, is much more ergonomically friendly than the smaller van, all of which leads to quicker, more efficient working.

I bought the van online from Bristol Street Ford Dealership in Stoke-On-Trent, they were most helpful and professional in their dealings with me. They gave me a great price on the new van as it was on last year’s autumn plate and the also gave me a more than generous part exchange on my old van. So I was very happy with the deal.

As I said, the new van gives me much more space for all my equipment and to make it work in an efficient manner I have sectioned it out with ply boarding and put in metal shelving. All this makes the equipment I have very accessible allowing easy access to every item so it can be removed from the van and replaced with very little effort.

I think that you will agree that the van now looks and is very smart and professional looking. Incidentally, the sign painting was done by Paul Lambourn at The Sign in Wimbish: 1 The Stables, Pinkneys Manor, Wimbish, Saffron Walden CB10 2XD – 01799599996

Takeover of ‘The Saffron Walden Village Chimney Sweep’

Posted By paddy

The big news this week is that I have recently taken over Jessica Hayes chimney sweeping business ‘The Saffron Walden Village Chimney Sweep’, as she has retired from sweeping. Many people will know Jessica as she has been the only female chimney sweep in the area for a number of years now! And all credit to her I say in what is largely seen as a male dominated industry! I think Jessica has done ever so well over the years, as chimney sweeping is not the easiest of jobs, it is physically demanding and can be quite tiring. Taken with the fact that Jessica is only very slightly built, she has done remarkably well to contend with her male colleagues. Women like Jessica are a positive role models for others and a reaffirmation of gender equality in the work place!

Over the years Jessica has built up a large and loyal customer base, so I would now like to extend a warm welcome to all of Jessica’s customers and say that I’m looking forward to meeting you all in the future!

I am aware that Jessica ran a forward appointments diary for her regular customers. I will now be undertaking all Jessica’s forward appointments and will Endeavour to contact everyone prior to their respective appointments by way of a reminder.

So here’s to a new future of clean, efficient, professional chimney sweeping with Walden Sweeps!

Large Villager Stove Swept and Doors repaired

Posted By paddy

Yes, it is that time of year when everyone wants their damaged stove repaired and as I have said before this is the best time of year to do. As the stove is no longer in use as the warmer weather has now arrived! And long may it remain!!! I have completed a number of glass door repairs this last week, this one was to both doors of a large Villager stove. Both glass doors had become cracked with frequent use. The owner who resides in Upper Wimbish Green told me that the stove was in use every day from the autumn right through the winter as it has to heat and large room and both he and his wife tend to feel the cold.

Villager Stoves are now made by Arada Ltd, who also now make Aarow Stoves and Stratford Stoves; they are based in the West Country in Axminster. The company history is as follows:

Under the Villager brand, the company have been producing wood and multi fuel stoves for over 30 years with the roots of Arada brand being over 50 years old.

1966
George and Rose start a small family business in Lyme Regis, Dorset called ‘Lyme Regis Engineering’.

1979
After re-naming as ‘Villager Stoves’, the company begin to create stoves in Axminster, Devon.

1990’s
Stratford boiler stoves are introduced, challenging efficiencies and safety in the boiler stove market place.

2008
Aarrow and Villager combine their shared appreciation of building high quality stoves and become Arada Stoves.

Today
The individual brands of Aarrow, Stratford and Villager are combined under the Contemporary Living, Timeless Classics and Hardworking Heating collections within the Arada brand.

The full contact address is: Arada Ltd, The Fireworks, Weycroft Avenue, Axminster, Devon. EX13 5HU

As usual I sourced the glass from VetroSpec in Great Chesterford, I have not found anywhere else that is so reasonably priced and helpful. They will actually cut the glass for you whilst you wait! The proprietors Antonio & Penny Portente are ever so helpful and friendly, I would recommend them to anyone! – VetroSpec – Precision Glass Engineering, Unit 1 Park Farm, Park Road, Great Chesterford, Essex CB10 1RN – T01799531363 – Sales@vetrospec.co.uk – www.vetrospec.co.uk

Looking at the photograph of the repair I think the stove now looks excellent, particularly as the large Villager is a handsome stove in its own right!

Door Repair for Stovax Huntingdon 35 Multi-Fuel Stove

Posted By paddy

It is that time of year when I spend some time repairing people’s wood-burning stoves. This is obviously something best done in the spring/summer months when the stove is not in use, as it involves removing the stove doors and taking them away to be reconditioned. In this way everyone benefits; the customer does not lose the use of their stove during the cold season and I have the time to complete such repairs during the sweeping off-season. This is so much the case; I repaired five different stoves last week alone.

One of the stoves I reconditioned the door for was this Stovax Huntingdon 35 Multi-Fuel Stove. A really nice classical yet contemporary stove. It has a nice seized firebox as well as one large glass stove window. It was this piece of glass and the door ceramic rope seal that required replacing. The glass had become cracked and part of it had fallen out of the door.

As usual I sourced the glass from VetroSpec in Great Chesterford, I have not found anywhere else that is so reasonably priced and helpful. They will actually cut the glass for you whilst you wait! The proprietors Antonio & Penny Portente are ever so helpful and friendly, I would recommend them to anyone! – VetroSpec – Precision Glass Engineering, Unit 1 Park Farm, Park Road, Great Chesterford, Essex CB10 1RN – T01799531363 – Sales@vetrospec.co.uk – www.vetrospec.co.uk

I don’t think there is any dispute that the repaired door looks very good!

A Domestic Pet as a Thatched Animal, a Cat

Posted By paddy

This is a first, a domestic pet as a thatched animal! I saw this thatched animal on a roof in Abbotsbury when I was on holiday earlier in the year in Dorset. I can’t say I have ever seen any other domestic pets as thatched animals. So as here, the choice of thatched animal that appears on any roof must be purely down to the personal taste of the owners. Unfortunately I didn’t see any other examples of thatched animals as pets whilst I was on my Dorset holiday! I had a very relaxing break though with lots of walking.

Yeoman County Stove Swept and Repaired

Posted By paddy

I recently swept and repaired this very large Yeoman County stove at an address in Newport. As can be seen from the pictures, the baffle in this stove had almost completely disintegrated and both the door glasses were cracked and broken.

The baffle repair created something of a problem as in 2006 Stovax who are based in Exeter bought Yeoman Stoves and took over the production of some of their more popular stoves. The problem was that Stovax were no longer producing stoves such as the Yeoman County and were additionally no longer producing replacement parts for these discontinued stoves. Interestingly, Stovax Limited were established in 1981 and tend to produce a more contemporary line of stoves, where as Yeoman Stoves commenced production around about the same time, initially based on a small farm on Dartmoor and have tended to produce more traditional stoves with an emphasis upon a more rustic, rural styling.

So I had a problem, in that I couldn’t just go to the manufacture and buy an off the shelf baffle, because they simply no longer made them. I solved this difficulty by having a completely new baffle fabricated by a blacksmith. I used David Gowlett at Springwell Forge Ugley. David did an excellent job, at very short notice and at a very reasonable price; in fact cheaper than it normally costs to purchase a baffle from a manufacturer. Davids contact details should you need them are:

David Gowlett Blacksmith – Springwell Forge
The Forge, Ugley, Nr Bishops Stortford, Herts CM22 6HY
Forge: 01799 543272
Home: 01638 669326
Mobile:07410 546850

As usual I sourced the glass from VetroSpec in Great Chesterford, I have not found anywhere else that is so reasonably priced and helpful. They will actually cut the glass for you whilst you wait! The proprietors Antonio & Penny Portente are ever so helpful and friendly, I would recommend them to anyone! – VetroSpec – Precision Glass Engineering, Unit 1 Park Farm, Park Road, Great Chesterford, Essex CB10 1RN – T01799531363 – Sales@vetrospec.co.uk – www.vetrospec.co.uk

I think you will all agree that the finished stove looks fantastic!

Football Themed Thatched Animal – Tottenham Hotspur Cockerel

Posted By paddy

I noticed this very unusual thatched animal the other day on the Old Forge in Radwinter. I could be wrong, but I think that this thatched animal is suspiciously like the emblem of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club? Tottenham Hotspur was founded in 1882 and in 1901 they became the only non-league club to win the FA Cup since the formation of the Football League in 1888. The clubs emblem is a cockerel standing on a football and the club Latin motto is Audere est Facere, literally, “To Dare Is to Do”. The origins of the Tottenham Hotspur emblem would appear to be associated with fighting cocks. Apparently the Hotspur part of the clubs name derives from Harry Hotspur who was known to fit his fighting cocks with spurs, which can be seen in the clubs crest. Further to this 1909 a former player named William James Scott made a bronze cast of a cockerel standing on a football to be placed on top of the West Stand and since then the cockerel and ball have been the major part of the club’s identity. Clearly, I think a spurs fan must reside in the Old Forge at Radwinter?

Hamlet Stove Swept in Radwinter

Posted By paddy

I came across this rather attractive and elegant stove in a thatch property in Radwinter the other day. It is manufactured by a company called Hamlet Stoves and is not a make I had come across previously; hence its insertion in my weekly blog. Hamlet Stoves are a Devon based company that was set up in 1966, by a married couple Rode and George. The companies engineering works are actually based in Axminster, which of course is famous for its carpet manufacturing industry. The company is noted for their Hardy and DEFRA ranges of stoves, all of which have a blend of contemporary and traditional features.

The occupier told me that the stove provides excellent heat in what is a rather large lounge and which he said can get rather cold in the winter. He went on to say that the stove had been alight every day all through winter and was frequently the sole source of heating for the room. Consequently, upon cleaning, the stove flue was found to be rather dirty; however although a large quantity of soot was removed, it was of a very fine consistency showing that the stove had been operated correctly at its optimum performance.

In conversation with the occupier I discovered that the stove had been supplied and fitted by Will Parker of Thaxted Stoves. He told me that Thaxted Stoves had additionally built up the chimney so it was well away from the thatch and had further increased the height by adding a half meter tall chimney pot. I had to admit that it was a very neat and tidy job.

Thaxted Stoves:

Phone: 01371700305 or 07990511589

Email: info@ThaxtedStoves.com

http://www.thaxtedstoves.com

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