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Emma Joins me for a Day’s Work Experience

Posted By paddy

Those of you who regularly follow my blog will remember that about a year ago my youngest daughter Katie joined me for a day’s work experience – This was part of fulfilling part of the National Curriculum in year 10. Well recently my eldest daughter Emma joined me for a full day’s work. This was not to fulfill any requirements of the National Curriculum, but Emma was at a lose end after not having to sit her A-Levels (Due to the Covid situation), and did not want to be outdone by her sister. We had quite a varied day of work on the day and covered quite a bit of ground.

The photo is of her outside an address in Epping where we swept two open fires. Emma said that she really enjoyed the day, especially driving between the villages to get to the jobs, but she went on to say that she didn’t think chimney sweeping was the job for her – Far too dirty a job! It didn’t seem that long ago that I took Emma on her year 10 work experience, in those days I was still a DS in the Met Police working on the East London Criminal Finance Team SCD7. One of the things we did that day was to go to Snaresbrook Crown Court and obtain a Bank Production Order. The judge was very kind after the Court Clerk had told him why Emma was there, and she was able then to meet the judge in his chambers. He took the time and trouble to explain to Emma his role and responsibilities.

An ACR Neo 3 Wood-burning Stove Swept in Saffron Walden

Posted By paddy

I recently swept this ACR Neo 3 Wood-burning Stove at an address in Saffron Walden; in fact I have been sweeping the flue for this stove for the past few years now. I thought it would be good to include it in my blog though as not only is it an attractive stove and a very neat installation, it also has a rarity value. ACR stove are relatively few and far between in this area, but this is the only ACR Neo 3 Wood-burning Stove that I sweep and as I cover a relatively large area, I think this makes it a rare. What I really like about this stove is that it fits very well into its surroundings, a contemporary stove in a modern house.

ACR seem to specialize in contemporary stoves and they have a large range of different models, including: the Birchdale, Oakdale, Ashdale, Rowandale, Larchdale, Elmdale, Earlswood, Malvern, Wychwood, Novus, Buxton, Astwood, Tenbury, and Trinity, as well as four different versions of the Neo, 1W, 3F, 3C and 3P. ACR have been making stoves for over 30 years and are based in Birmingham the West Midlands.

ACR Heat Products,

Unit 1, Western Works,

Western Lane,

Birmingham B11 3RP

01217068266

https://www.acrheatproducts.com/

Running Horse – Great Bardfield

Posted By paddy

I realized this week that I have not had a blog of a thatched animal for quite some time now, so this week I thought I would put that right! All work and no play and all that!

These pictures of a running horse were taken at a cottage close to Great Bardfield, so tucked away, if you didn’t know where it was you would have extreme difficulty finding it. The customer has recently had the thatch ridge redone and added that horse as they keep horses themselves, three in fact. I was there to sweep the flue to their Yeoman Devon Mk1 stove that was fitted by the previous occupants over 30 years ago now. You wouldn’t believe this as the stove has been so well looked after it still looks almost new. Claire was quite taken with the thatched horse though, being a horsey person herself and she spent some time fussing the customers three horses in their stable.

Looking on the web there are a huge number of poems written about horses; I should think that there are more poems written about horses than any other creature? He are just a few that caught my eye:

Horse by James McDonald

To honor a friend,
That many have known,
To capture the words,
That action has shown.

Like a horse set to flight,
A pen dashes around,
And words fill the page,
like rocks on the ground.

With grace in their heart,
May the world hear them say,
That the horse is our friend,
Because there’s no other way.

And to you at the edge,
Of your poetic filled voice,
Charge in like a horse,
As if there was never a choice.

 

The Stallion by Walt Whitman

A gigantic beauty of a stallion, fresh and responsive
to my caresses.
Head high in the forehead, wide between the ears,
Limbs glossy and supple, tail dusting the ground,
Eyes full of sparkling wickedness, ears finely cut,
flexibly moving.
His nostrils dilate as my heels embrace him,
His well-built limbs tremble with pleasure as we
race around and return.

 

The Horse by William Shakespear

I will not change my horse with any that treads…
When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk,
He trots the air; the earth sings when he touches
it.
“The barest horn of his hoof is more musical than
the pipe of Hermes…
He’s of the color of the nutmeg and of the heat of
the ginger…
He is pure air and fire, and the dull elements
Of earth and water never appear in him,
But only in patient stillness his rider mounts him…
It is the prince of palfreys. His neigh is like
The bidding of a monarch, and his countenance
Enforces homage.

 

The Horses of the Sea by Christina Rossetti

The horses of the sea
Rear a foaming crest,
But the horses of the land
Serve us the best.

The horses of the land
Munch corn and clover,
While the foaming sea-horses
Toss and turn over.

 

Say this of Horses by Minnie Hite Moody

Across the ages they come thundering
On faithful hoofs, the horses man disowns.
Their velvet eyes are wide with wondering;
They whinny down the wind in silver tones
Vibrant with all the bulges of old wars;
Their nostrils quiver with the summer scent
Of grasses in deep fields lit by pale stars
Hung in a wide and silent firmament,
And in their hearts they keep the dreams of earth
Their patient plodding furrowed to the sun
Unnumbered springs before the engine’s birth
Doomed them to sadness and oblivion.
Across the swift new day I watch them go,
Driven by wheel and gear and dynamo.

Say this of horses: engines leave behind
No glorious legacy of waving manes
And wild, proud hearts, and heels before the wind,
No heritage of ancient Arab strains
Blazes within a cylinder’s cold spark;
An engine labors with a sullen force,
Hoarding no dreams of acres sweet and dark:
No love for man has ever surged through wire
Along the farthest slopes I hear the rumble
Of these last hoofs-tomorrow they will be still;
Then shall the strength of countless horses crumble
The staunchest rock and level the highest hill;
A man who made machines to gain an hour
Shall lose himself before their ruthless power.

 

 

 

 

A Rare Stove – The Interoven Goodwood Stove

Posted By paddy

Well, I had not seen one of these before, the Interoven Goodwood Stove – I swept this one recently at a farmhouse just outside Hempstead. The customer told me that her father had installed the stove in the late 1940’s when he had renovated the farmhouse. She said that she believed that the stove was secondhand even then, and that her father had picked it up somewhere at a reasonable price. Worryingly, she told me that she believed that the stove had not been swept since it had been installed. This I believe proved to be the case, the chimney was incredibly dirty and was full of rather dangerous tar deposits. How the family had not burned the farmhouse down, I just don’t know! In the end I removed a couple of large trugs full of tar and soot from what is a relatively short run of chimney!

I have had a look on the internet and it would appear that the Interoven company ceased trading some time ago. There are some interesting historical adverts for the company dating from Victorian and Edwardian times right through to the 1950’s, but nothing after that. These advertisements are worth a look, just to see how quirky they are and for their historical interest! With straplines like “the original not a pirate” and “how to reduce gas and coal bills, a heating miracle”. Check out Graces Guide to British Industrial History – https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Interoven_Stove_Co

Commercial Sweeping Work – The Arches Apartment Block in Deptford

Posted By paddy

Yes, Last week we returned to work in London when we swept the biomass boiler flue at the Arches Apartment Block in Childers Street Deptford. This apartment complex is rather large, occupying as it does half the length of one side of Childers Street which is quite a long road. The Gilles biomass boiler that provides the heating and hot water for the complex is rather sizeable at 55Kw rating, as can be seen in the photographs. The biomass boiler is situated in a basement boiler room below a seven story section of the complex, so as you can imagine it is rather tall flue, running as it does from the basement up seven stories and out on to the roof. The flue itself is integral to the building, i.e. running inside the structure of the block as opposed to along the outside. In total this meant that there was over 30 Meters of flue that required sweeping. The system operates on wood pellets which are fed into the boiler from two large hoppers. These hoppers are in turn filled with pellets via access hatches at street level.

The agent for the management company told me before I commenced the work that the system was 10 years old. However, the system had only been run for the first 5 years of its life and had lain dormant and unused for the past 5 years. In all this time the flue had never been swept. The management company were having the chimney swept in preparation for recommissioning the boiler prior to its reuse in the coming winter. Surprisingly, considering the amount of time had passed without sweeping, the flue was not particularly dirty. Although a reasonable quantity of soot was removed from the flue, it was not consistent with the amount of time the system had been operational and dormant. As expected, though the soot was very fine in nature. The management company who are new to looking after the complex have wisely determined to have the flue swept annually.

Gilles Biomass Heating are a West Country Company based at Unit 215B Holme Lacy Road, Hereford HR2 6BQ 01432513777 office@gilles-biomassheating.co.uk

https://www.gilles-biomassheating.co.uk/contact/ – They have been developing biomass boiler systems over the last 25 years.

Claire Retires and Joins the Business

Posted By paddy

Yes, I have a new partner, well a new business partner! My wife Claire finished with the Metropolitan Police a couple of weeks ago now and has joined me in the business. She doesn’t actually officially retire until 1st September, but until that date she is using up her rest days owed and annual leave entitlement, so to all intents and purposes she is retired. For the past few years Claire has been working as a Murder Detective in London’s East End, so is finding the sweeping work a pleasant, less stressful change! Swapping the streets of East London for the green fields and pretty villages of the local area and the somewhat less than pleasant usual police clientele for all our lovely customers.

Although, Claire won’t actually be doing any sweeping work she will be helping a great deal; helping set up, moving equipment to and from the van, talking with customers, doing the paperwork and taking bookings. To this end she has already made some significant changes. We have moved into the 21st Century with a computerized booking system that Claire is in the process of implementing. This system tracks all jobs, sends reminder texts, plans and directs you to the jobs, automatically completes any require documentation and feeds into an accounting package. Customers can also track our progress on the day of the appointment to see how close we are getting to their appointment and what our actual ETA will be. To run the system we have invested in a new iPad and iphones which have much greater memory capacity allowing us to do all the things I have described.

The humorous card Claire received for her retirement was actually made by a family friend in Wales; I think it is rather well done as well as being funny! I do so like her fetching Learner L-Plate pants! I’m sure she really does have a pair like that???? The bit I’m shouting to her at the bottom of the card reads as follows: ” Claire, how many times must I tell you! Don’t forget to let go of the brush!” I think the little yellow help flag should from hence forward be a standard piece of equipment on the van!

All joking aside, it has been so nice to have Claire working with me, the company and chats and laughs we have during the working day is great and make the day such fun! Its not like being at work at all. Claire is also a great help, and being a farmers daughter she is very practically minded which is an added benefit. The old adage about a labour shared being a labour halved is so true and an extra pair of hands making light work! It has amazed me what a difference she has made, allowing us to get through more work during the day, more quickly and more professionally. Well done Claire, the future of Walden Sweeps is looking good!

Sweeping a Wanders Economic 60 Cassette Multi-Fuel Stove

Posted By paddy

This week one of my jobs was sweeping this Wanders Economic 60 Cassette Multi-Fuel Stove at an address in Ashdon. I thought that I would include this stove in my blog as I don’t do many Wanders stoves and this is the only Wanders Cassette stove that I have come across. So, I have included here it out of interest more than anything else! In the correct setting a contemporary cassette stove can look rather effective and attractive, I think you will agree. Although I know that contemporary is sometimes not to everyone’s taste.

The stove has an unusual double baffle arrangement, with a small hinged bracket over the mouth of the flue and a longer oblong baffle lower down the roof of the stove – This is the baffle that can be seen in the photograph, and which as you can see has been overfired and is reaching the end of its serviceable life.

Wanders are a Dutch company who were established by Henk Wenders and commenced production in 1960’s. Henk Wanders bought an old farmhouse in the village of Netterden close to the German border and obtained the necessary permits and permissions to commence metal processing in and around the farm. In the beginning Wanders supplied metal products mainly to other metal companies, but because their products were so popular and because of the advanced technologies they used the business began to grow. Wanders were the first company in the region to work with laser-controlled machines. Through acquisitions and the use of advanced technologies the company expanded steadily and they extended into stove production. Eventually a whole factory was built on the site that employs a large number of local people. Wanders now not only makes fires and stoves, but constructs mobile chalets, the manufacturing of rope and the produce steel storage racks.

Wanders Fires & Stoves

Amtweg 4, 7077 Al Netterden

The Netherlands

(0)315386414

info@wanders.com

https://wanders.com/en/

Emergency Calls – A Bird Down the Chimney in Radwinter

Posted By paddy

Not such an unusual call out at this time year when a lot of fledglings are beginning to leave the nest and stage there first stuttering flaps into the outside world. It is not therefore unusual to find that some of these learner fliers end up down a chimney. Sometimes they simply fall out of a nest in a chimney or the nest begins to disintegrate and they fall down the chimney or as in this case, they have taken flight and then unsteadily perched on a chimney before falling in. In fact, in the last week I have attended four callouts involving birds having fallen down the chimney. On some occasions as in this case I was able to get the bird out of the chimney alive, unfortunately this is not all ways the case, but I always try my best to do so. On this occasion I knew there was an issue before I entered the house as there was a parent Jackdaw perched on the open pot frantically calling down the chimney.

In this instance the stove that can be seen in the photograph, was not lined, simply having a stove pipe into the register plate with inspection hatches either side of the stove pipe. Beyond the register plate was a large void beyond which was a large square shaped hole in the outside wall at about head height which formed the bottom of the chimney. This unusual chimney arrangement was there because the house at one time had been the village bakehouse and the chimney was the one that had formally served the bread ovens. The young Jackdaw was hoping between the register plate and this large square shaped opening at the base of the chimney. I waited until he was off the register plate and inside the chimney and then using a 12” Soft Brush I gently eased the bird up the chimney. In fact, the bird rode the top of the brush almost like an elevator to the top of the chimney and the customer was actually able to watch him/her fly out of the top of the chimney.

The customer was most satisfied with the end result, and if you will excuse the pun, was able to kill two birds with one stone, having the bird removed from the chimney and having the chimney swept at the same time. I was also able to give the customer the contact details for a local roofer; Gary Watson in Debden who would be able to fit an anti-bird cowl to her chimney.

Gary Watson: Watson Woolmer Ltd 01799541846 (M) 07736678877

Morso Squirrel in Radwinter Requiring Sweeping & TLC

Posted By paddy

Last week I attended to the needs of this Morso Squirrel Multi-Fuel Stove at an address in Radwinter. As can be seen in the photos this stove has seen some stout service over the winter and was beginning to show some signs of how hard it had been working over the burning season. I was able to give the flue a thorough cleaning out using power sweeping equipment; the photos reveal just how dirty the flue had become over the winter period. I was also able to affect a fire-cement repair to the stove pipe, repaint the top of the stove which was beginning to corrode and to replace the fire-bricks which had started to crumble away. Leaving the stove in a much healthier state than I found it.

Despite its compact design the Morso Squirrel Multi-Fuel Stove is rated at a 5Kw output, which is quite surprising considering its relative size. Morso are a Danish stove company who have been making metal consumer goods since 1953. It was Neils Christensen who founded the Morson Foundry making all sorts of products including metal stable windows, tools, pots and pans and even grave crosses. Around the turn of the century Morso began to start making tiled stoves and room heaters for schools, churches, railsways, government ministries and even to the Danish Royal Family. Indeed, so successful where they, that in 1915 they became the official purveyor of stoves to the Danish Royal Family. Its was in the 1950 when tiled stoves became obsolete that Morso began producing Wood-burning Stoves.

Morso Stoves UK

Unit 14B, Davy Court, Castle Mount Way, Rugby, Warwickshire CV23 0UZ

01788554410

https://morsoe.com/

 

 

Suffolk Sweeping – Rattelsden & the Old American Airfield

Posted By paddy

I recently spent a day chimney sweeping in Suffolk that I thought might interest people. Many of the places I swept on this day were thatched properties, who had previously had stoves fitted by the Cut Maple Fireplace and Stove company. Clearly, due to insurance requirements, there is an imperative placed upon thatch properties to have their chimneys regularly swept even in these difficult times. I started the day in with a couple of jobs in Haverhill then Calford Green where I did a double sweep, before moving to sweeps in Kedington, Wixoe, Stoke-By-Clare, Cavendish, Glemsford, Lavenham and finally Rattlesden. I have included in this week’s blog some photos of some of the stoves I swept this day.

Cut Maple Fires & Stoves Sturmer Road, New England CO9 4BB 01440788788 07817581296  cutmaple@fireplacesetc.co.uk  www.fireplacesetc.co.uk

I met some really lovely, interesting customers on the day many of whom were working from home or were retired. One customer was a retired army helicopter pilot who had after retiring from the army after lengthy service had worked in the film industry flying helicopter mounted cameras. He told me an number of hair raising stories about crashing at the height of the troubles in the Mountains of Mourne in Northern Ireland due to a mechanical defect and surviving to tell the tale even though he was only armed 

with a 9mm pistol with 8 rounds of ammunition. On another occasion after having left the army, the helicopter he was flying was hijacked and he was forced at gun point to fly to Gartree prison in Leicestershire to break out a Category A prisoner. He was forced to land his helicopter in the prison exercise yard and collect the escaping convict. Fortunately, all those concerned were later caught, convicted and sent to prison for lengthy spells.

Having completed my final sweep of the day in Rattlesden I was able to visit the old American airfield, the entrance to which was very close to where I had been working. Amazingly, the main runway is still in place and can be seen in one of the photographs. It is massive, over 50 yards wide and thousands of yards long.

The old control tower is also still in situ and has a number of plaques on it commemorating the airfields wartime activities. The larger of the two plaques commemorates the deeds of Second Lietenant Robert Edward Femoyer which earnt him the Congressional Medal of Honor, America’s highest award for gallantry. The citation reads – “Severely wounded by anti-aircraft fire over Meresburg Germany, LT Femoyer refused painkillers, keeping his mind clear to guide his plane out of danger and save his comrades. Despite extreme pain and loss of blood, he navigated his lone bomber for 2 and a half hours, clinging to the last slender thread of life until his plane

had arrived safely over the English Chanel. LT Femoyer died shortly after landing. The heroism and self-sacrifice of LT Femoyer were in keeping with the highest traditions of the 447th Bomb Group and the US Army Air Corps”.

Rattlesden airfield was built in 1942 as a Class A bomber airfield. The airfield had three intersecting concrete runways, perimeter track and, for USAAF use, hardstands for fifty aircraft and two dispersed, black-painted T-2 hangars. Living and messing sites were on the east side of the field. Situated four miles south of the A14 highway between Stowmarket and Bury St. Edmunds

The airfield was opened in 1942 and was used by the United States Army Air Forces Eighth Air Force. Rattlesden was given USAAF designation Station 126 (RS). Rattlesden, remained without a combat unit until the 447th Bombardment Group (Heavy) arrived from Harvard AAF Nebraska on 29 November 1943. The 447th was assigned a group tail code was a “Square-K”.

The group flew the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress as part of the Eighth Air Force’s strategic bombing campaign and served chiefly as a strategic bombardment organization. The 447th’s first mission from Rattlesden was despatched on Christmas Eve and, during the course of hostilities, another 256 missions were flown from the base.

The group helped to prepare for the invasion of the Continent by attacking submarine pens, naval installations, and cities in Germany; ports and missile sites in France, and airfields and marshalling yards in France, Belgium, and Germany. During Big Week, 20–25 February 1944, the 447th took part in the intensive campaign of heavy bombers against the German aircraft industry. Supported the invasion of Normandy in June 1944 by bombing airfields and other targets near the beachhead. Aided the breakthrough at Saint-Lô in July and the effort to take Brest in September. Pounded enemy positions to assist the airborne invasion of the Netherlands in September. Also dropped supplies to Free French Forces during the summer of 1944.

The 447th turned to strategic targets in Germany in October 1944, placing emphasis on sources of oil production until mid-December. 2nd Lt Robert Edward Femoyer, navigator, won the Medal of Honor for action on 2 November 1944. While on a mission over Germany, his B-17 was damaged by flak and Femoyer was severely wounded by shell fragments. Determined to navigate the plane out of danger and save the crew, he refused a sedative and, for more than two hours, directed the navigation of the bomber so effectively that it returned to base without further damage. Femoyer died shortly after being removed from the plane.

During the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944-January 1945, the group assaulted marshalling yards, railroad bridges, and communications centers in the combat zone. Then resumed operations against targets in Germany, attacking oil, transportation, communications, and other objectives until the war ended. During this period, also supported the airborne assault across the Rhine in March.

After the war, the field was transferred to the RAF on 10 October 1945. For a short while it was used by the RAF for basic training (square bashing) and then as a Ministry of Food buffer depot but was finally inactivated on 15 August 1946. In the 1960s part of the site was used for RAF Bristol Bloodhound surface to air missiles but when this was abandoned the whole airfield was sold during 1967/68.

With the end of military control the land was returned to agricultural use. Today there is not much left of the living and mess sites of the airfield, only part of the main runway and the south & eastern part of the perimeter track still exist plus a few of the hardstands. The most complete area of the airfield today is the Technical No. 1, east of the airfield which still has around 20 buildings left including the large T-2 hangar. The Rattlesden Gliding Group uses the southwest end of the former main runway, with one lane of the former southwest perimeter track being used as a taxiway. The control tower is their club house.

 

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