IN the past, nearly everyone had coal fires. Fogs were very bad in those days.
Most people called a chimney sweep to clean their chimneys. When I lived on George Street in Hucknall, I used to clean my own chimneys.
It used to take ten rods (each rod equivalent to one yard) to get to the top.
When I moved to Elm Avenue, I lived in a top flat and one day I decided to clean the chimney.
A cloth was placed across the fireplace opening and the rods were fed through a slit in the middle of the cloth.
What didn’t occur to me at the time was I was living upstairs and didn’t need ten rods.
I was coupling the rods together and I realised there was no resistance to the brush.
By that time the brush head was way out of the chimney and it curled over and grabbed my next door’s TV aerial.
They were big ‘H’ aerials then and people outside were watching and laughing. They thought it was great fun but I was not amused.
I had to buy my neighbour a new aerial.
In later years the family living opposite me also decided to clean their chimney.
Unfortunately, the brush head became detached in the chimney, not an uncommon occurrence.
He conferred with his brother and they decided that one of them would go on the roof and drop a house brick down.
It didn’t dislodge the brush so more bricks went down the chimney. They even dropped a car battery down!
The brush didn’t budge. They realised by now they had a problem! So they called in the council.
The council found where the brush head was and took bricks from the chimney breast which was close to the ceiling.
Years later when my brother-in-law went to live there I told him aboutwhat happened.
He said: “I always wondered why the plasterwork was different near the ceiling.”