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Changes due for fuel types allowed for indoor fires

It’s understandable that Covid-19 dominates the headlines but we mustn’t forget other important matters at this time.

If you enjoy an indoor fire (woodburner, etc) don’t forget that there are some changes arriving for types of fuel allowed for combustion.


Aliens have landed in Tunbridge Wells… or have they?

Image by Thomas Budach from Pixabay

LOCAL news reports state that a UFO was spotted hovering over the town of Royal Tunbridge Wells recently – apparently two floating orbs heading towards the moon.

It’s not the first time that unidentified flying objects have been seen whizzing about in the upper atmosphere above parts of Kent. There have been various records of bright lights flying around over the years, with colours ranging from orange to green to yellow to white – and these sightings are recorded at various locations around the county.


Keep safe as lockdown eases

Don’t take any chances with the coronavirus – or your fireplace!

So… the good news is that the Covid-19 lockdown is definitely easing, allowing our Kentish communities to regain some sense of normality again.

Please do take care though and follow the scientific advice to keep a good distance (unless you have a measuring stick, commonsense applies!), washing your hands frequently, being careful of other people’s coughing habits, cleaning surfaces, etc.


Carbon monoxide is an invisible killer threatening everyone in your household

Carbon monoxide kills. We know that because of the statistics: 30 deaths per year and 241 injured, on average. And that’s just the known cases, according to the CO-Gas Safety charity.

It’s horrifying that people are injured or die largely because the right safety checks were not made inside the home. CO-gas detectors play an important role in detecting the gas but we must be careful not to over-rely on them. Proper safety inspections of appliances are crucial for safety’s sake.


Hever Castle’s grounds are now open!

Credit: Hever Castle

GREAT NEWS – Hever Castle has opened its grounds and gardens to the public booking in advance.

The castle is allowed to do so under new Government guideliness for private gardens reopening for folk to spend time outdoors. However, visitors to the castle gardens must book a date and time online in advance. You can find out more here. Take note of all instructions on that web page. The castle is taking certain measures to ensure people’s safety from Covid-19.


Back to work… slowly!

James the Sweep has returned… slowly because of the Covid-19 pandemic… back to work this past week.

James has been the Master Chimney Sweep for Royal Tunbridge Wells for the past 20 years and it’s been a real joy to get back to the work he loves: sweeping chimneys and keeping consumers safe from the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning and uncontrolled chimney fires.


Keep in touch with James your chimney sweep!

James Hughes is your local chimney sweep in Kent

Lockdown rules seem to be changing with freedoms being rolled out by the Government now and even more expected in due course after weeks of isolating because of the coronavirus. – James the Sweep is getting back to work this Monday but keeping the situation under review for the welfare of customers.


5 easy-to-remember safety tips for using your barbecue

Use barbecues safely

Sunny days are here to stay. Well, at least stay until the weather changes. And you never know when that may be. That’s why your chimney needs to be in good condition all year round. To keep your household safe from risks of carbon monoxide poisoning and chimney fires when you use your woodburner.
In any case, despite the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus, no doubt many of us will be wheeling out the barbecue in this warm weather. This is the time for enjoying steak, burgers and sausages sizzled to perfection with a drink or two.
Remember though to keep safe when using your charcoal barbecue. The last thing you want is to end up at Tunbridge Wells Hospital in the middle of this Covid-19 crisis.


VE Day in Tunbridge Wells

Kent was at the centre of the Battle of Britain

VE DAY celebrations recently were simply brilliant for us residents in Tunbridge Wells – despite the restrictions imposed due to the Covid-19 coronavirus.
The Second World War certainly had a profound effect on folk living in the T Wells area. And what happened during 1939 to 1945, the immense sacrifices made, should never be forgotten.


Hail the NHS heroes!

Respect is rightly due to our hardworking doctors and nurses working so hard to combat the Covid-19 coronavirus at our hospitals in T Wells and Maidstone – and other areas of Kent.


Happy St George’s Day!

A belated Happy St George’s Day!

Our patron saint is celebrated as much in Tunbridge Wells and the wider area of Kent as other parts of the UK.

Perhaps with this lockdown, it’s a perfect opportunity to find out more about our patron saint. Discover the legend about how he freed the king’s daughter by slaying the dragon with a lance and then gave gifts given to him (by the king) to the local inhabitants.


3 reasons to be VERY cheerful in lockdown

Enjoying your woodburner at home – the key to lockdown happiness!

It’s easy to feel a lot of doom and gloom in the midst of this Covid-19 pandemic, affecting every nook and cranny of life in Kent.

Yet there’s a lot of reasons to count your blessings as we continue to be near-locked down indoors, apart from the occasional shopping trip or exercise.


Be aware of chimney fires in Coronavirus crisis

CHIMNEY fires happen far too often and it’s so frustrating because they are easily preventable.

Take this latest incident as an example – Kent firefighters had to deal with a chimney fire in South Street, Meopham on March 18. It happened around 7pm and there were two fire engines at the scene for about an hour. The firefighters used a fog spike to get inside the chimney and then extinguish the flames. Fortunately, nobody is reported to have been hurt.

Kent Fire & Rescue Service says: “Following the incident, firefighters are reminding people with chimneys in their homes and businesses to make sure they are regularly swept and maintained.”


How to use a wood burning stove: a reminder

It’s not that long ago since James the Sweep gave 3 handy tips on how to use a woodburner in this blog section.

Even so, it’s worth giving another reminder – for the simple reason that thousands of householders in Kent are currently holed-up at home, avoiding the Coronavirus, and using wood burning stoves.

The last thing we need right now is for Kent Fire & Rescue Service to be distracted from helping with the national Covid-19 crisis, attending domestic fires because people don’t know how to use woodburners properly.

For that reason, please take time to familiarise yourself with these pointers:-


COVID-19 update. Stuck indoors? Unswept chimney? Ask James for advice!

To say that the Covid-19 Coronavirus has shaken towns and villages in Kent is a bit of an understatement.
The stats of those unfortunate to catch the virus are published on a daily basis, but the effects of the disease have closed everything down, affecting people even if they don’t have the virus. The county, as with other parts of the UK, is suffering as a result.


Don’t store logs by your woodburner – here’s why

PICTURE the scene – a roaring log fire indoors and you sitting nice and snug in an armchair admiring the scene.

Perhaps the cat or dog is cuddled on your lap whilst you nurse a hot drink or something a bit stronger in a glass. Maybe you have a book or newspaper in hand to relax.

It’s an ideal scene and evokes the Victorian idyll of yesteryear.


Support National Bird Guard Week


DID YOU know that more than a million birds get caught inside chimneys and die every year, in the UK?

That is why James the Sweep is supporting National Bird Guard Week with the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps (James is a Master Sweep).


Ban on coal for domestic fires: Facts

YOU have probably seen headlines this past week about the Government banning the sale of certain types of fuel for wood burning stoves.

Please don’t be mistaken – wood burning stoves are NOT being banned. What is happening is that burning coal and wet wood will be illegal by 2023. You will still be able to buy dry wood and manufactured solid fuel for your woodburner. You will still be able to use your stove and enjoy indoor fires.


Helping vulnerable elderly people

The need for tradesmen serving the elderly professionally has never been greater in the county of Kent. Local authority figures show that the total population of those aged 65-plus has increased from 301,000 in 2015 to 332,200 in 2020. That includes 1,708 adults with dementia in Tunbridge Wells (an increase from 1,986 people with dementia in T Wells five years ago). (more…)

Kent firefighters tackle hot ash fire in Staplehurst

SMOKE – rather than love – was in the air at a home in Staplehurst on Valentine’s Day this year, 2020.
But it wasn’t fired by passion: the incident was incredibly serious. Hot ash had been emptied from a log burner onto a cardboard box. You can guess what happened next!