Something bad happened last weekend. And by bad, what I actually mean is ‘damn right dangerous.’

In fact, if my Grandma was still alive today, I would not be hearing the end of it.  And she was part of the ‘look after the pennies’ generation.

Let me explain.  Ever since I was a little girl, I had always wanted a wood burning stove.  To me, they were the pinnacle of country home comfort.  Who doesn’t like the sound of wooden logs crisping and crackling? The hearty smell of a glowing, cosy stove had been my constant craving for years.

I’d spied the stove I wanted, but at a cost of over £500! There was no way I was paying someone to install it as well.

I’d planned to simply read the instructions.  Things always come with instructions, don’t they? (Do we really need to be told to Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat?) And anyway, there’s always YouTube if I got stuck, right?

Grandma had always used experts for jobs around the home.  She’d rather call in a handyman than risk the dangerous job of putting a shelf up.

Like Grandma, I have never installed anything myself.  Aside from building an Ikea chair once in 2004 (yes, that counts), I have never actually attempted any DIY.  So why I thought stove installation was something I could master, I have no idea.

I can almost smell the lavender, as I recall Grandma’s voice,

“If in doubt, call a professional out.”

I can’t believe how naïve I was.  What happened next would be turning Grandma on a full 1800 rpm spin in her grave.

The stove was delivered.  I pulled on my big girl pants, read the instructions and actually managed to fit it together.

It looked great.  I felt like Kirstie Allsop.  My living room had come straight out of a double-page spread from Homes and Gardens magazine.

But things took a sinister turn when I invited my sister and her boyfriend, Jon, around that evening to (show the stove off) for dinner.  Whilst my sister’s mouth dropped in awe when I retold the story of my girl power stove installation, Jon’s nose wrinkled and his eyes narrowed.

“If you haven’t had it fitted by a specialist, carbon monoxide is probably pumping its way around this place.” He exclaimed.  Through gritted teeth.

Ohmygod.  Carbon monoxide.  The silent killer.  A thousand thoughts ran through my head.  But one thought was screaming at me:


The fire brigade were called and my worse fears were confirmed.  I hadn’t installed it properly.  Naturally, I got a severe telling off for fitting it myself.

The stove, my pride and Kirstie Allsop’s fantasy was all gone.

And the frightening thing was this:

I didn’t even know I had installed it incorrectly. 

All the time, this little, dark monster was waiting to wreak havoc on my home.  Like a black ticking time bomb, smirking at me from the living room, licking the rustic logs I fed it.  Evil.

For the sake of saving a few quid, I almost made a decision that took my life.  My insurance wouldn’t have paid either, as I hadn’t had the stove checked by the authorities.  Grandma would’ve been MAD.

The moral of the story, in case you hadn’t guessed already, is to follow my dear old Grandma’s advice. If in doubt, get a professional out.  And let’s face it, who doesn’t have doubts when installing something that has the potential to wipe you and your family out.

Lesson Learnt.


Sooty and Sweeps supply Stoves and Fireplaces as well as offering Stove Installation in London and Kent.