17 Apr 2014

Hestia stacks up some Brownie Points in Heaven

not our actual crow - I was too busy to take
photos of the Rescue Operation!
Of course, as soon as the wood-burner is cemented in place a bird flutters to its doom down the chimney.

Sonshine and I listened with dread to the gentle tappings as it hopped around on top of the aluminium plate that had now been permanently sealed across the bottom of the chimney.

No longer could I just pull out the plate and let the bird fly to freedom.  No siree.  But maybe Tartarus had built in an escape-plan for trapped birds.  Maybe.

But Tartarus is now in Israel.

I KNEW THIS WOULD HAPPEN!  We've had three birds down this chimney in the past and Tartarus has been away at work every single time.  With a heavy heart, I set to work.

I unscrewed the aluminium plate from its position and tried vainly to dislodge it, but it was not for moving - when Tartarus cements something in place, it is a pretty good bet that it is cemented in for ever.  If I ever disappear in mysterious circumstances - tell the police to check up the sealed chimney, ok?

Then it was a rush upstairs to facebook and email to 'Mayday' the newly arrived and knackered Chief Engineer as to how we might rescue the bird.

After lunch we got the message - the actual pipe from the burner to the chimney SHOULD slide out. Yes, SHOULD slide out is not the same as WILL slide out, but with some judicious hammering and a fair old bit of swearing from yours truly and some nascent swearies from my son, we managed to slide the flue out from its casing.  So now the flue moved freely up and down in the aluminium plate.

But could we slide it out into the room and leave a hole for the bird to escape? Could we fuck, ladies and gentlemen.

We pushed and pulled and swivelled and swore, but there is no way we could actually remove it.  So we instated our emergency plan:

Shove the flue as much as possible into the chimney void and hope against hope that the bird would decide to launch itself down the flue into the unknown.  We wodged the flue up in place and hoped for the best. I left the torch on, so that it would have definite light to move towards.  Heck, I even prayed aloud to God, much to Sonshine's amusement:  'Come on, give us a break! We're trying to save another life here!'  OK - so its not quite the Lord's prayer, but it was all I could manage given the circumstances.

Many hours later (like 10!) Sonshine came bursting in to my Masterchef fantasy time and announced that the bird had tumbled into his room in a cloud of soot.

We both ran into his room and there, perched on the cornicing and, literally, shitting himself was a massive crow. I slammed off the lights and opened one of the curtains whilst simultaneously hauling open the sash and case window (not opened, incidentally, since the last time a bird got stuck in the chimney)

Nero was left in the other room while Sonshine and I tried to shoo Birdy to the window.  He got the right idea, but headed for the TOP of the window, not the lower bit that was open.  This led to me dispatching Sonshine to the garage for step ladders so that I could try sliding down the top window. THIS window, never opened, well, in living memory. Unbelievably, it gave a protesting squeak (the window, not the bird) and slid open!!!

And with a couple of panicked 'caws' and a big streaky smelly shit over Sonshine's White Dwarf magazine collection.....the crow flew straight out!!!

God listened! Tartarus helped! Sonshine helped! At last we managed to SAVE A CROW!

And today's job is to wipe all the bird poop off all surfaces and phone the roofer to install a mesh protector to the chimney can.

Save any lives today at your end?


  1. Wire netting over the tops of chimneys is a definite requirement - heavy duty wire not ordinary chicken wire as crows will soon peck their way through the latter. Send someone up onto your roof ASAP!

    1. Every chimney bar one has the netting over the chimney cap. And of course it's that 'bar one' that the bloody thing found its way into lol!

  2. Anti-bacterial wipes are your friend :)

    1. Fer shoor. I need them when out walking with Nero because sometimes a nappy bag doesn't quite cover everything and well, there is....finger contamination. On the upside - I haz totally stopped biting my nails :-)

  3. well done. we had a wee sparrow in our (never ever used) fireplace a while ago but it must have figured things out eventually.

    lives saved, you ask? not so much as lives spared. mr. monkey came down to visit me and snored and snarfed his way through the night. i wanted to kill him rather badly but i didn't. them's brownie points in my book.

    1. Not killing someone is absolutely a life saved. Snoring is the pits, isn't it? I luff getting the bed to myself so that the only snoring in the room emanates from ME (well, or Nero).

  4. Not saved, actually, but avoided murdering. It is half term. Say no more.

  5. You have sash windows? Oooh, jealous.

    If you'd lit a very small fire, would it have been able to get the hint and return whence it came?

  6. Hmm, no lives saved or spared here. May have saved my sanity, though. I'm cutting out brassicas to try to decrease Boy2's wind, as walking him round for what feels like hours while he cries in the middle of the night was driving me potty...

  7. What's wrong with stoking up the woodburner till it's a roaring inferno and cooking the bloody bird "in situ"? Saves a lot of hastle, and just think of the pleasant aroma of cooking avian that will fill the house. AND no bird shit everywhere.


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