Smoking!

When we first moved to Spain, we lived in an old, stone house. One evening in the autumn my bipeds decided to light a fire, as the weather had turned cold. This didn’t turn out to be a very good idea – the smoke billowed into the room! The bipeds opened the windows and fiddled around with the fire for a while, but it didn’t take them long to decide that the chimney needed cleaning and they put the fire out.

On Sunday morning Juan, the man who owned the house, came by to collect something he needed. He said he was surprised that we didn’t have a fire now that the weather had turned cold. My bipeds told him that it smoked too much and that the chimney needed cleaning.

He replied, “I can’t do anything now, I’ll come back after lunch and clean it with you.”

We were surprised when he returned later that afternoon, we had discovered that when he said “after lunch” he didn’t usually mean the same day! He was holding a coil of thick electrical cable. The male biped asked him if he would like help bringing his tools in – we were expecting to see a brush with rods to push it up the chimney.

What we expected to see!

What we expected to see!

Juan replied, “This is it! Do you have any secateurs or shears?”

My bipeds looked really puzzled now, but found a pair of shears for him. He took the male biped off down the garden. The female biped put the cats in the bedroom and closed the door and then she taped some rubbish sacks over the fireplace. She said to me that she had no idea what was going on, but we might as well be prepared for a mess!

I went out onto the terrace and I saw that Juan had a pile of twigs from the Holm oak. He was tying them up halfway along the cable that he had with him. The male biped was asking him what he planned to do, but he just kept saying, “You’ll see!”

Holm oak

Holm oak

They came back into the house and Juan asked the male biped to wait by the fireplace. Juan disappeared up the narrow stairs to the loft without explaining. My bipeds wondered whether there was an opening in the chimney up there, for cleaning purposes. From my vantage point on the terrace, I saw Juan climbing out of the small window on the roof. I barked because that didn’t seem right at all. The female biped popped out to see why I was barking. She told me to be quiet, or I could join the cats – how rude! But she looked a bit worried when she saw Juan strolling across the roof to the chimney.

Juan dropped one end of the cable down the chimney and shouted down the chimney to my biped to pull the cable. My biped started pulling and Juan kept asking whether he could see the twigs yet. When my biped said that he could see the twigs, Juan asked how much soot had come down the chimney. He told my biped to keep hold of the end of the cable and Juan pulled the twigs back up!

Typical stone chimney

Typical stone chimney

They repeated this about half a dozen times and then Juan dropped his end of the cable down the chimney. He walked back along the roof and climbed back in the window and came down. He untied the twigs and left them in the fireplace with all the soot. He coiled the cable back up. My bipeds asked him if he’d like to sit with them and have a drink. He declined, saying that he was going home to finish the bottle of wine he’d started with his lunch.

The bipeds cleaned up and lit a fire. They let the cats out of the bedroom and the cats were very pleased to find it was warm and they got as close as they could to the fire. My bipeds said that they didn’t think it was a very good idea to go for a stroll on the roof after drinking wine, but they were relieved that all had ended well. The fire still smoked, but not nearly as much!

See you next Wednesday!

69 thoughts on “Smoking!

  1. Using tree brush to clean the fireplace, then burning the tree brush in the fireplace, who needs tools?

  2. What a wonderful story today Clowie…plus Momz learned what secauters are and that she actually owns two of them (two pairs?) Thank you so much 😀 Have a wonderful week

    • Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed my story. Yes, that would be two pairs – and I’ve discovered another word that doesn’t really cross the Atlantic!

  3. We think the man needed the wine to be brave enough to climb on the roof!!
    The REAL Maple Syrup Mob
    xxxxx

  4. Haha craziness! Glad it all worked out though

  5. It’s a good job he didn’t fall off the roof after drinking the wine or else he would of had something to whine about BOL

    Sheba.

  6. Well, that’s a different way to clean the chimney! Here in the US, we might call that “MacGyver-ing” a solution. (It helps if you’re familiar with the old TV show, MacGyver. If not, he could make just about any tool or prop from whatever was at hand.)

  7. Lucky your barking didn’t scare him into falling off the roof given the wine as well lol 🙂 But very considerate of you to be so vigilant! My family were less lucky with their uncleaned chimney…all the soot burst through from behind the new electric fire smothering them and their lovely new white furniture in black soot! I don’t habe chimney cleaning probs as my l lord is pulling them down…causing ceilings to cave in!! Small detail seeing as he’s Italian and shares similar ideas to yours! And wine is a must…prob why chimney free unsupported ceilings cave in! Lol He can’t believe I don’t drink wine with my latest catch of juicy raw bison and martian chicken!

    • Soot and white furniture don’t really mix! They must have been a bit upset about that.
      Pulling the chimneys down is a rather drastic way of cleaning them, woof!

  8. What a great story!

  9. Mmm, maybe next time your people should just build a really BIG fire and let it work it’s own way up the chimney 😉 We had a guest accidentally do that at our house once – too much paper at once in the fire – that seemed to clean out the chimney …I suppose there would be some smoke involved 🙂

    • Well a few weeks later we did have a rather worrying incident – my bipeds didn’t notice that there was oil on some of the wood that Juan supplied. The flames were quite fierce!

  10. A rather funny but old fashioned way Clowie.
    Enjoyed that chimney sweep story
    Ian

  11. Oh wow! We’ve never heard of cleaning a chimney like that! Great story!

  12. Hello Clowie! Mum says that’s pretty much how the chimney of the first house she rented in Greece was swept!

    Hope you’re well. I’ve missed you!

    Big WOOFS from Solo 🙂 x

    • It’s great to see you! I hope your weather isn’t too cold yet.
      It’s a very practical way of removing the worst of the soot, if you don’t have brushes.

  13. Juan sounds like an interesting character to be sure. I like his old world way of cleaning the chimney, very theatrical. But I may be tempted to hire a pro for safety reasons.

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