Monthly Archives: March 2015

International Rescue in a Flap

A regular client of mine phoned with a problem.
She explained she had soot appearing in a disused fireplace and thought there might be a bird stuck in the chimney.
I said I was no expert to initiate a rescue but would pop round to try.
I had a cunning plan which I thought might work. Using my sweeps brush I would carefully push up the chimney to the stranded bird (which I was sure was a pigeon). The bird would be magically elevated to the top of the chimney like he was standing on top of a lift in a shaft where he could just fly away.
A marvellous plan except the chimney was not as I’d expected. Two chimneys from two rooms came up like an inverted Y,  joined and then carried on vertically to the roof.
The stupid pigeon was right at the join.
If only he knew it, coming down the chimney into either fireplace would be easy but bird’s instinct said ‘go up’
If my plan was to work the brush had to approach the pigeon from an angle. He could then alight, the brush would then change angle and continue to the chimney pot whereupon a slightly sooty pigeon would fly off happily.
But there was a plan B. The brush might approach the pigeon from the side and dislodge him down the other side of the inverted Y into the other fire place.
Confident one or other plan would succeed I loaded the brush.
My client was terrified at the prospect of a sooty bird flying about in either room and asked if she could leave.
I said fine and she left saying she would be very glad to finally have the thing out of the chimney.
I said: ‘Hang on a minute what do you mean finally?’
She said that she thought the bird had been in there about four days and promptly left.
I was now thinking this poor pigeon is probably at death’s door from near starvation and the last thing he needs is to have a big black brush coming at him.
Anyway I decided to press on and pushing slowly so as not to startle the poor bird there was suddenly a great amount of flapping noise.
Plan A was not working so I hoped the bird might find an exit into the other fireplace was a good outcome. But the brush had other ideas and it kept jamming wanting to go neither up the chimney nor across. All the time there was this sort of tragic flapping.
I decided this was really not working and withdrew my brush with a fair bit of soot. I found my client and said the only hope would be with the RSPCA or someone like that but I figured they would have to break into the chimney from outside and then brick-up the holes they’d made afterwards. This was assuming the poor pigeon after his recent scare from my brush would even last long enough to be rescued.
Anyway I left my client without charging her to ponder what to do.
Evidently she chose to do nothing because she called my three days later to say the the pigeon had popped his clogs and fallen into the fireplace of the front room.