Eventually the penny dropped that my chimney was blocked. My friend, who normally sorts these things out is in hospital, so I thought I would see if i could sort it myself. I am not able to go up ladders, ( not that my ladders are long enough) and so decided to try cleaning it from the bottom of the pipe upwards. How hard can it be ……????
First i tried shoving a long piece of hose pipe up, but realized that it was not flexible enough to get around the bend of the chimney half way up .
Next I tried plaiting some telephone cable I found in my shed, and attached a piece of plastic pipe over the end. That was no good, the cable just bent into a ball.
My final idea was to push the hose of the vacuum cleaner as far as I could up the chimney, cover the hole with a cloth, and switch it on. Maybe it would suck the blockage out.
Well I would love to say it worked, but it didn’t ! I sort of knew it wouldn’t. My vacuum struggles to suck up a tiny stone, or a dead fly from the floor. It was more a case of wishful thinking .
My mind started thinking of silly ideas then. Maybe I could catch a squirrel and release it up the pipe. Or push my neighbours nasty, yappy little dog up the hole.
In the end I asked my elderly neighbour Manuel( 76 years of age) If he knew someone who could do it. He nodded his head, said something I couldn’t understand, and wandered off. Within minutes he was back with his long ladders, and what looked like a metal cable for towing a car.
He shot up the ladder, and had the job done in a flash. I stood below with my heart in my mouth, hoping that i would not soon have another person to visit in the hospital, and was so relieved when he was safely back on the ground.
He saved the day. My wood burner is back to being toasty hot and easy to light again, which is great.
If you are living In Portugal , and have a wood burner installed, then unlike me, I would suggest you find a couple of people locally who un-block chimneys, well before you need them. It is not as simple as picking up the yellow pages and looking under chimney sweep !
I was fortunate to have such a lovely, and capable neighbour to help me out. Otherwise I would have been in for a cold week end .