“One Dead Bat”

Yesterday, I had a chimney sweep calling, to clean the wood burning stove and its large chimney that goes through the ceiling and out onto the roof. We don’t use the wood-burner that much, and mainly keep if for emergencies like power cuts. But then we discovered that it has to have an annual safety certificate, whether we have actually lit it, or not.

This is because of house insurance of course; yet more income-generation for tradesmen, and potential avoidance of any claims by the insurance company.

So I found a local chimney sweep who is a member of The Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps (yes, there is such a guild) and arranged for him to come yesterday morning at nine. The name of his one-man company is ‘Norfolk Sooty’, quite a good name, I thought.

Things have changed a lot since Dick Van Dyke was dancing on rooftops twirling his brush, his face smeared with soot in the film ‘Mary Poppins’.

My sweep arrived on time, and proceeded to cover the hallway carpets with clean plastic sheets before he even attempted to come in. Then he brought more covers to spread around the floor at the base of the wood-burner, and began to use his industrial strength vacuum cleaner to remove anything from inside the chamber. Once he was happy with that, he put a small brush inside, then removed the grate and top plate, before securing a clear plastic hood around the stove with magnetic bars that held it in place.

The hood had two openings. One was for the tube of the vacuum cleaner to be inserted into, the second smaller one was for the lengths of tubing that attached to the brush. The brush was moved up and down inside the chimney many times, then attached to a power drill that spun the brush inside, for a thorough clean.

I watched from across the room, very impressed with his thoroughness, as well as his cleanliness. Not only did he vacuum all the floor covering he had put down, he also vacuumed his own clothing as he worked, to make sure no dirt fell onto the surrounding carpets when he stood up.

When the hood was removed from the stove, he had to admit it was one of the cleanest chimneys he had ever swept, a result of us hardly using it over the years. I asked if he had found much inside, and he shook his head. Opening his hand, he smiled.

“One dead bat”.

In his hand was a tiny mummified bat. As it was not charred or burned, we concluded that it must have died of starvation, after being trapped somewhere in the chimney.

I wrapped it in some soft tissue, and gently placed it into the rubbish bin.

56 thoughts on ““One Dead Bat”

  1. With the bat thats very interesting. In the UK, you have such beautiful open fireplaces in the living rooms. Here it is mandatory to have chimneys cleaned twice a year, and open chimneys, as far as I know, have to be checked every two months. ;-( The prices for our chimney sweeps are almost as expensive as our pharmacies. Lol xx Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have rescued two live ones that fell down the chimney in the past, but this tiny one must have been caught much higher up. At least I didn’t burn it to death, but it was awful that it starved.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Shortly after moving in here, we had a dead squirrel in our microwave. Not in the cooking part itself, though, but under it, between the air filter and the bottom of the cooking part. We were only made aware of it by the smell! YUCK!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a big animal to have dead in your kitchen, Pit. We have only had bats and occasional small birds inside the house, though we have had field mice and a large ferret in the workshop shed outside. They all got out alive though. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good for him for providing a good service and respecting your property. So many tradespeople do a good job but leave a big mess behind. Poor little bat, but you treated him with respect.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Darlene. Since moving to Norfolk, we have had some very good experiences with tradesmen in this area. They are very conscious of Facebook, apparently. If they don’t do a good job, it is online in minutes, and ruins their reputation.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It makes you wonder how people get into the sweep business in the first place? A fascinating occupations for sure, coming into peoples homes, cleaning their chimney’s. You were kind to the little bat, poor thing. Hugs, C

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I asked him about that. He used to have an IT support company in London, but decided to leave the rat race and move to Norfolk. Then he spotted all the chimneys and wood-burners, so paid to retrain as a sweep and work for himself. He gets a slack period from just before Christmas, until March. Once people start lighting their fires, they don’t call him in.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is the second post I’ve read today that refers to home insurance. As you say, it’s all money for the boys. Sorry about the little bat. I’ve had similar experiences and you can
    t help but feel bad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have a veritable ‘bat colony’ in our two Oak Trees, Pam. There have been bats inside the fire before, and I rescued those. But this tiny one was high up inside the chimney, so I had no idea it was there.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I wasn’t aware of the requirement to have an annual sweep. We had ours done a couple of years ago and like you we don’t use it every day. I shall have a read of our insurance policy now! And book the sweep.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We are not going to lose too much sleep about the insurance, as we so rarely use the fire. But we are on his records now, so he will no doubt contact us in November 2022. 🙂
      You have to have a sweep who is a member of one of the two professional associations, apparently. They are the only ones whose certificates are acceptable to British insurers.
      Best wishes, Pete. x

      Like

    1. I felt so bad about that tiny bat, even though it wasn’t my fault. I have saved two other bats from in there before, but I never knew this one was there because it was so far up the chimney.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  7. I’m quite sad I haven’t got a chimney, I’d like to see a sweep do his thing, though I think I’d prefer the small boy on the end of a rope photographically speaking. 😉😀 BTW how is the pigeon under the bushes in your garden doing?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The pigeon is still around, and still not flying. Its wing looks a lot better, but definitely not up to flying strength. I am still feeding it separately, and making sure it has water. I also stop the other pigeons bullying it, when I see them doing that.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Poor bat; it wasn’t to know, of course. I was informed by my landlord, a few months back when their & my chimneys were cleaned at the same time, that the landlord is now responsible for chimney cleaning in rented property. I wasn’t aware of that, but I certainly wasn’t about to argue! I wonder if the agency administering the letting of my previous address would have been so forthcoming? Hypothetical, of course, but I’m just glad I’m better off where I am. Cheers, Jon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Considering the time spent, and the thorough job done, I don’t think it was too expensive at £55. We also got a comprehensive safety report and proof of having the chimney swept.
      (In London, they charge £125) However, it is just another annual expense that I could do without, and they all add up to a considerable sum.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is fascinating. We had our chimney swept in our old house. I suspect Mary Poppins may not be accurate: Dickens paints a far grimmer portrait of the trade

        Liked by 1 person

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