The knock on the door came at 21.45, a fairly late hour and a sound that brings with it a slight feeling of foreboding. Was it a hoax, youngsters playing 'knock a door run', a particular religious organisation or perhaps at this time of year, carol singers?.....but I could'nt hear any singing!
I slowly opened the door, fortunately I wasn't wearing my night attire, and standing there was a highly agitated next door neighbour with a stranger behind him, informing me with some concern that our chimney was on fire. So in my unshod feet I walked into the road to look at our chimney, noticing at the same time that the public house opposite had completely disappeared from view, shrouded in smoke. Our chimney looked like Vesuvius erupting with thousands of sparks pouring out, the only difference being that there was no red hot larva running down the roof!
Satisfied in the knowledge that the Morgan was safe, never mind the wife and the valuable jewellery and ancient artifacts within our crumbling pile, I called 999, quite pleased that I could remember the correct number to call on occasions such as this. Some ten minutes later the Fire Brigade appeared approaching the crossroads, lights flashing and sirens sounding, but regardless of the waves of half the people in the village who had gathered to see our house burn down, turned down the wrong road, much to our chagrin. Anyway, regardless of satnav error they finally pulled up in front of the house.
It must be said that they were excellent. The sparks from the chimney had subsided a lot by then, the fire in our log burner was almost out anyway and fortunately the fire had been contained within the stainless steel flue. However it was vital that the flue was swept before using the fire again and there was one thing absolutely certain, we would not be using our regular sweep who had told us every year that, because of a 'dog-leg', he could not get his brush to the top of the chimney.
New operatives were summoned who have now achieved the 'impossible' and the brush has been viewed in time-honoured fashion a foot above our chimney pot!
All is well and I am now warming my little tootsies in front of our lovely log fire!