“It’s not easy to clean a chimney without making footprints!” Said Archie Mason who’s been cleaning chimneys since Elizabeth 1st was on the throne.
Despite the difficulties involved, any sweep who fails to meet these levels will loose his license and his brushes!
For some, the only answer is to hop to work.
“I’ve been training for a month now and can almost lay out the dust sheets, shove up the brush and get back to the van on one foot but it’s tough!” Said Dave Winters from Southsea who, up until now, enjoyed his job.
Adie Adomo, a Kenyan chimney sweep living in Fife has taken a different approach.
He has worked out that, given the correct angles and speed of approach, he can use his brush pole to catapult himself up onto the roof of a client’s house and sweep it from the top down.
“I had to buy a pole vaulting pole and fit it to the brushes!” He explained. “But so far it’s going pretty well although bungalows are proving a difficult as I tend to finish up in the neighbouring garden.”
For some less inventive sweeps however there is only one option; amputation.
A number of back street ‘loppers’ have been doing brisk trade hacking off the limbs of hapless chimney sweeps.
“It’s a bloody disgrace!” Said Pete Bentley of the Sweep’s Union (one of Britain’s smallest). “Cutting your blood leg off just to save a few fekking pandas! The world’s gone mad!”
He may well be right about that.
It remains to be seen if these measures will work or if chimney sweeps will face years of difficulty trying to meet their quotas.
Rather moreworryingly perhaps is that by 2020 the quota will be halved again!