228. Good luck will rub off…

What am I like? Here am I inviting you… nay, begging you …. to read my blogs – hundreds of the little blighters – (the early ones are the best: less parentheses) and not once have I given a moment’s thought to your safety whilst doing so.  Not a glimmer of a risk assessment has crossed my mind.

Yet, while immersed in the Jelly Chronicles (I have a particular fondness for number four), you might be putting yourself in all sorts of dangers.  Heavens, your solicitor could, at this very moment, be preparing a claim for damages!  I must remedy this remissness without delay.

It is with some shame, in fact, that I fear I wouldn’t, even now, have considered my responsibility for your safety, had not our present decoration of the InfantPhenomenon’s lair highlighted a multitude of hidden dangers.   For example, whilst waiting for the wallpaper-stripping-steamery thing to heat up, I idly looked at the label and, would you believe, you’re not supposed to stand on it while the water is boiling! And there was I, relying on a bunk-up to reach that tricky bit above the light switch.  Neither, apparently, should you let young children play with the steamer, thoroughly scuppering my plans for adding some challenge to young “if it’s there, climb it” Nantes’s amusements, when I’m next GreatAunting it.

Mind you, on that score, new possibilities for entertainment have just presented themselves.  In the corner of IP’s lair is a boarded-up fireplace; it takes just one whack of the club hammer to reveal half a century of soot and assorted albatross  remains.  Now, we all know how much children enjoy climbing up chimneys and frolicking on the roof tops of London, so we’ve set about recommissioning it as a working fire.  To that end, we buy a fender which we could usefully double up as an aid to Nantes’s chimney climbing. Then we notice the label on the side:

Well, who knew?

ActorLaddie calls to book Mr Firkins the Sweep (est 1860).  Having your chimney swept by H Firkins and Sons (est 1860) is so much more than a simple desooting.  Their website tells of the first young Harry Firkins “sent out into the cold so he could secure himself a nice little earner while his father spent the last of his pennies on ale at the firkin pub on the corner.” Harry meets with a scoundrel chimney-sweep who forces the boy to work in a sooty hell until – in 1860 – the scoundrel comes a cropper and young Harry takes over the business.  It’s either a moving and tender story or an exercise in alternative facts; you decide.

The line is busy so AL sings along with “Chim- chimney” until Mr Firkins comes on. They sort out an appointment time, then Mr Firkins says “to be on the safe side and prevent blowback, you’ll need to replace your chimney pot with one the same size as the pot on the other chimney.”  Mr Firkins is looking at our house on Google StreetView, presumably a little trick passed down from father to son since 1860.   I now think it possible that Mr Firkins may also demur at my suggestion of young Carrot joining him for a scamper over the roof tops.  Spoilsport.

Crickey,  I was supposed to be giving you some safety guidelines and here we are, blog nearly finished and you still left to your own devices.  Just time, I think, to warn you about escaping parentheses.  They can be tricky little scamps and, if you’re not careful with them – which I’m sure you will be – they could have someone’s eye out.

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