Only to find that the sweep doesn't actually sweep chimneys! "You'll have to do it yourself" he says. WTF?! Talk about false advertising - even after I clearly explained the situation and what I wanted on the phone. My favourite bit was when he said that he couldn't clean a real chimney because it was square and the brushes were round. Come on - has anyone actually ever fallen for that line?
Anyway, I've just about let it go, as you can see :-)
Next step was to get up on the roof to see if we could see anything obvious down the chimney - but we couldn't. So it was time for more drastic measures - and Jerry and friend pulled the fireplace out of the wall. This is what we found.
So the downside is that there's no fire. The very bright side is that I now had the excuse to do what I've always wanted to do - take the fireplace out, remove the wall and replace it with a freestanding stove with a cooktop! Yipeeeee (although obviously very bad for the bank account!).
Lily tried hard to make the best of it in the few weeks before all this happened "think warm thoughts, think warm thoughts, there IS a fire"
Fortunately wall and chimney removal went well thanks to lots of hard work from Jerry and Dave. Although it was very, VERY dusty.
Now to decide on a hearth covering. We've pretty much settled on the Lopi Endeavour as the new fireplace, although it won't be installed and ready to use until next winter. We're hoping for sales in the next few months to take a bit off the price tag!
Even better, Jerry managed to sell the old fireplace on ebay, which just about paid for the skip hire for the bricks.