There are seven chimneys at the farmhouse, four in the main house and three in the gite. As part of our "gite move in" and out of necessity as the weather gets colder, we have been lighting fires. In France you must have your chimney swept once a year as part of insurance requirements. The chimneys in the main house were swept in August and before we light the fires in the gite, they too will need careful attention from " Le Ramoneur".
Monsieur Romoneur and his father duly arrived, we had met them in the summer when his son had also helped out, great to see three generations of one family working together. Monsieur R. and his father are a happy pair, cheerful and chatty. I can only say that looking up at our roofline with seven chimneys, Dick Van Dyke dancing on the rooftops and Mary Poppins came to mind. The sooty clothes and genuine appearance made me want to invite them to shake hands and bring good fortune at any forthcoming wedding.
An industrial cleaner was wheeled into the kitchen and with Monsieur R. on the roof peering down the metal lining, the cleaning began. The wood burning stove in the kitchen is very dated but it looks robust and full of old charm. The glass door works in two ways, a lift up and a conventional open door style which is quite unusual but querky. Monsieur R. finished the clean then declared "il est mort". Apparently sections, important sections, of our wood burner had rusted inside and this fire was unsafe to use. This was a bit of a blow, quite an unexpected outcome as we had been looking forward to having a roaring fire to warm a very chilly day.
Luckily in true Mary Poppins stye, Monsieur R. could solve the problem, he knew of a lady who was selling a stove very similar to ours that was only a year old because she was changing her heating system. She speaks very good English he said.......because she is English! Their white van drove away and I picked up the telephone.
Having made contact we now have a new wood burning stove to collect. I suppose the next challenge will be to get it fitted!