Greg's Occasional News & Views

8 April 2018

Thursday was one of those days you dream about in the dark dismal depths of winter and/or during the rain-sodden days of early spring. It was bright, clear and, most importantly, dry. This is in marked contrast to the rest of the week – we’ve had more rain this week than Noah. It has been relentless and the area has even experienced some local flooding, something which we don’t see too often around here. So, Thursday’s splendid beauty was very welcome indeed. Unfortunately, that was merely a brief respite – more rain!

We’ve had an eventful week. On Sunday we went across to Nick & Lucy’s to enjoy an Easter Sunday of the sort we used to enjoy when we were children. There were Easter Egg hunts (yes, more than one), games a plenty (both indoors and outdoors) and a stupendous Easter feast – a fine bit of pork with outstanding crackling prepared by the MasterChef himself. I am always impressed by his ability to prepare meat to perfection even though he doesn’t partake himself. Absolutely delicious.

When we returned home we arrived to a surprising and exciting set of circumstances. We had, the previous day, heard the unmistakable sounds of a Jackdaw stuck down our dining room chimney. You will recollect that we’ve had one down there before (a few months ago). At the time we Googled “how to rescue a bird stuck down your chimney” and the advice was to put a box hard up against the flue opening with a flashlight inside. Wait awhile and eventually the bird will come down to the light and into the box.

Being “experts” at liberating birds from our chimney, we set up the box and flashlight and waited. Unfortunately, the bird did not come down to the light but stubbornly stayed up the chimney. We left it overnight and, in the morning, still no jackdaw in the box. Penny crawled into the fireplace and looked up the chimney but was unable to see all the way to the top due to the curve in the flue. The trapped bird, however, was clearly way up toward the top as it could not be seen.

Pen posted a request on the local Facebook group to see if anyone had any chimney rods we might use to shove up the chimney and hopefully dislodge the bird and/or convince it to come down. A neighbour soon supplied the rods and Pen had a go – no joy apart from clouds of soot, centuries of dust, a shower of twigs and, sadly, the skeletal remains of at least one previously trapped bird. As we were due to go off to Nick and Lucy’s we put the box back in place with its flashlight and set off.

When we returned we opened the front door to find not one jackdaw but two flying around the lounge! Clearly, they had eventually come down to the light and had somehow managed to squeeze themselves between the box and the chimney blank to freedom. Unfortunately, freedom was still evasive as they still couldn’t make their way to the great outdoors. Naturally, therefore, they crapped all over the window sills, table and carpet as they tried to get out. When we arrived home to find them we quickly opened the window and carefully shepherded them towards it. There were cheers from all the neighbourhood jackdaws as they finally made their way to freedom. I’ll bet there were some stories told round the campfire in the jackdaw fraternity that evening!

We had a nice day out on Friday – lunch with a group of former colleagues at the Boat Inn in Thrupp near Oxford. A splendid group of people who did a great job – it’s always good to catch up with them and to marvel at how well everyone has aged (apart from me, of course).

Brexit continues to lurch towards its disastrous conclusion – less than a year to go before the UK commits economic and social suicide. Apparently, the term “Brexit” has entered the lexicon as a term used to describe a complete and utter mess. This example from Ireland:

This afternoon I was watching a guy in Pettigo trying to build a garden shed. He had it half built when it fell down. His neighbour looked over the fence and said “Sam, are you ok?”. Sam said “Oh, sure I am. I’m trying to build this shed and I’ve made a complete fecking Brexit of it.” And his neighbour said “That you have, surely”.

— The Irish Border (@BorderIrish) April 1, 2018

If you didn’t laugh you’d cry.

Love to you all,



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April 2018
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