This is a follow-up pigeon link recalling my forays with this bird. During my time in Boscombe, I lived in a bedsit in what had been an old Edwardian hotel. A pigeon fell down the chimney and was trapped behind the gas fire for three days. It was very cold weather and I was really worried about dislodging the fire to enable it to escape. I had three days of guilt and punishing myself for being scared to risk moving the loosely fixed fire from its place in the hearth. The ugly piece of primitive equipment had been sealed around three sides with insulation tape, which was half peeling off, and looked like it was an domestic accident in the making. Every night I tried to survive the cold without turning the fire on but gave in for brief interludes to warm my bones and check the bird was still alive. On the third day, I’d had enough and set my stall out. I opened wide one of the windows of the bay and grabbed a newspaper. In a fevered fit of determined panic, I pulled the insulation tape off the fire and tugged the fire away from the hearth. The huge bird, responding to the light, squeezed out of the space and almost knocked me sideways. I wafted the bird desperately towards the open window and watched it fly to freedom.
I had saved the world!!!! Afterwards I did what we British always do in situations like this – I put the kettle on and made a cup of tea, feeling incredibly good to be alive. I’m sure the pigeon came back to sit on the verandah the next day. I can only think that after a night outside in the freezing cold, it had preferred to be bricked up, warm and cosy, behind the fire. It probably would have preferred food to freedom.