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June 16, 2008

A bird in the flue ...

Got up this morning to hear a strange fluttering in the living room. A quick search revealed nothing in sight - initially a relief, since only a week ago I found a distressed bird in this same room, eagerly watched by one Madam Paddy Cat as it perched on a model ship on top of my bookcase. Relief was shortlived, the fluttering was very definitely coming from behind the gas-fire - in short the idiot avian was inside the flue!

Now I had several options. First, check whether it is possible for something the size of a bird to get out through the vents at the top of the "fire". Those looked a little too small. So next option, how do I make t bigger. It seemed the only option was to move the entire fire. That meant disconnecting the gas, unbolting the "fire' from the wall and then shifting the whole thing out. That is a job for a gas fitter, not a D-I-Y averse ex-firefighter. So, back to the phonebook. First call to the 24 hour helpline for the RSPCA. Chocolate fire guard springs to mind for all the help I got there. Summed up it was "Phone Transco to turn off your gas supply - then remove the gas fire ....." Next, try to find a gas fitter. Several abortive calls later I stopped to make a cup of coffee and give this some thought.

Coffee in hand I was about to consider the next move when the phone rang. It took a few minutes to deal with the subject of that and then back to dealing with the bird in the flue .....

Back in the living room, the flutter of wings, at the door a disinterested cat. Madam glanced at me, flicked a tail at the bird and swished out of the room. Her entire attitude said, "You let the last one go - you catch this one!" I shut the door, removed the curtains and opened the windows as wide as I could. Would the idiot bird leave? Of course not. It perched on the model ship and peered at me.

Now I'm not a bird watcher and I'm certainly adrift when it comes to UK and European birds. I grew up in Africa and we have different plumage on most of the "similar" birds and there are some here I just don't recognise. This one looked like a starling, except it was brown, a deep chocolate brown with a long sharp black beak. I waved my hands at it and it took off - but not for the window! We chased from perch to perch until the idiot thing collided with the open windows frame - and darted off.

So now I know how the last visitor got in - down the chimney, which means that the bird guard up there is gone. A legacy of the stormy spring? Or maybe the work that was done up there by the Housing Association's people a few months ago. So how to get it back? Well, the HA (Who own the block in which I own a lease) claim its not their problem - except that my lease says they are responsible for the exterior and its fittings .......

This may take some time - and in the meantime I can expect more avian visitors I suppose.

Posted by The Gray Monk at June 16, 2008 06:00 PM

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