Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance that he himself has spun...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Travaux de Fumisterie

A couple of weeks ago after a family gathering at our apartment, we noticed that there were pieces of something falling into our fireplace.  Not being experts in this area and being a little concerned about setting the apartment on fire inadvertently, we stopped making fires and called our ramoneur (chimney sweep), Camille, to have a look.  He's been doing the yearly cleaning for us ever since we've lived in Versailles and he is part of a family business that was started generations ago.

The diagnosis was quick.  Just under the mantelpiece was a large rectangular piece of material that was at a slant that protected the hearth and the exterior walls.  It appears that this piece was original to the building and it just got old and cracked.  The chimney however is fine.

His father stopped by on Saturday to deliver the devis (job quote) for the travaux de fumisterie (which I thought was very funny because I believe that last word can also mean "fraud".)  I signed it with a "bon pour accord" and yesterday Camille showed up and spent the day fixing the darn thing. It turned to be not so easy - he had to chisel out what remained of the old piece, cut the new one exactly right, pose it, bolt it in and run sealing around the edges all in a very confined space.  Not much room for me to be of any use so I just provided many cups of very hot, very black, coffee.  Here are a few pictures of the work as it progressed.



All fixed now.  We just have to wait a few days for the sealant to dry completely. We'll make a few small fires over the weekend and Camille will stop by on Monday to make sure everything is OK.

We really appreciated their doing the work so quickly.  Christmas is just around the corner, the elder Frenchling will be coming home from Canada in a few days, and we usually have a small family dinner here on New Year's Eve.  It must be something very old (ancestral memories perhaps) in our brains because everything seems better in the middle of winter when you have a crackling fire going and family and friends seated around the hearth celebrating.

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