The latest visitor in the procession of wildlife that is our apartment was a dazed-looking pigeon that became stuck in our blocked-up chimney.
1. Flapping sounds are heard from the vicinity of the chimney. Suspicions are heightened as soot and debris begins tumbling down into the fireplace.
2. I call the RSPCA and am perplexed by the number of options on the answering service. If you are calling about a duck, press 4, a mannered voice intones.
3. In time I get a real person on the phone and I report that ‘there seems to be some distressed bird in our chimney’. I use the word ‘distressed’ so that she will take me seriously. I am instructed to dismantle the blockage.
4. Bits of wood and 20-year old newspapers are removed in a cloud of dust to reveal a fazed but healthy pigeon sitting atop the remaining planks of wood.
5. To encourage the pigeon to escape through the space of the blockage that we have cleared, Claire attempts to coax it out with bread, then pokes it with an umbrella, to no effect.
6. We argue over who gets to seize the pigeon. I hold the torch as Claire pounces.
7. Pigeon seized. Soot, feathers everywhere. Claire carries the pigeon to the open window. Slight anti-climax as, instead of fluttering off to redemption, the pigeon falls with a thud into the courtyard below.
I captured some of this debacle on my phone. You can hear the sound of pigeon contacting ground: