Pretty impressed by local tradesmen.
The MiL is having a new gas fire fitted - the old one had controls that were very hard for her to work, being set back underneath at an angle with no good view of the pilot light, and it never seemed to warm the room all that much and it wasn't specially attractive either.
Gas man came on Friday to just look behind the existing fire to check the hole would suit the new one, and found rather a lot of twigs in the fireplace and flue.
Sweep contacted, could come Wednesday but on hearing it was old lady with no fire came Monday (next weekday) and, for almost no money really, spent a good 2 hours clearing 2 full binbags of twigs out of the flue.
Gas man had called a plasterer he knew who, hearing it was old lady with no fire, came off the job he was on to remodel the hole for the new fire so it'd be dry enough to fit by Friday, and he didn't just put a bit in to make the fit, he properly removed various bits of old plaster and brick and stonework and built it back up then did a nice skim out to the area of the mantle. For not all that much money.
So we should get the new fire in on schedule despite needing to call in two other trades on a near emergency basis.
Don't think we could have managed this in Stockport or central Manc, where I used to live. And it's all a tiny bit cheaper out here too.
Phone numbers of these good guys on request, if you're local and need them.