We had the chimney sweep booked for today. He was a little late, but that's to be expected. However, our chimney remains unswept and now we have the sweep's brush and at least one rod jammed up the it. The suspicion is that the chimney liner that was put in nearly four years ago has collapsed. What is known for sure is that the chimney is blocked with wet gunk that looks like dark soil, the sweep got about half a large bucketful out. I'd already taken about the same amount out that had fallen down into the fireplace over summer. This should not happen with a modern chimney liner. It's possible the one that's in there was installed upside down so that the soot and any rainwater seeping in have been collecting in ridges that are supposed to point downwards. It's equally possible that the liner has become detached at the top and dropped down, allowing the old lining material that was crumbling before we hasd the new liner fitted to continue falling into the chimney flue. Either way, it''s a mess and as the sweep is booked solid well into November, he's decided to give up a Sunday to fix things because he sees this as an emergency. Also, it's eaten one of his brushes and he wants it back. It's an old brush, true, but it's the principle of the thing. Chimneys do not get to keep the brushes that get rammed up them.
It's going to be a big job, he'll have to bash a hole in the chimney breast (thankfully we still haven't redecorated since the last time, so it's not spoiling anything) and also go up on the roof. It's unclear right now whether the liner can be pulled back up and removed that way, or if it will have to be dragged out of the hole in the chimney breast. Oh joy. It's also going to be a big bill, probably upwards of £1000, what with labour, materials and scaffolding to reach the roof. Fun fun fun! Not.