Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Cleaning up in a heatwave.

As sometimes happens, contrary to the belief of certain Spanish friends of ours, over the last few days the temperature here has soared up into the top 20s, even topping 30 degrees. Suddenly summer has arrived, almost out of nowhere, and is punishing us for not believing it could happen. Of course, it's forecast to cool down again pretty soon but I could do with posting the weather chart to a friend of ours over there in Galicia. 

While we were away, our house was invaded by a bird, probably a young rook. We think he fell down the chimney, which is something which has happened before. Our daughter had been keeping an eye on the house, popping in from time to time to check that all was well. She had not been for about a week and went in to the living room to find it in a state of disarray. Things were knocked over. In some trepidation she checked the study and found that the computer was still there. Nor was there any evidence of anything having been stolen anywhere else on that level. So perhaps it was not a burglar after all. 

Then she moved upstairs and discovered that our bedroom was liberally splattered with bird droppings. It was clear that a bird had got in and had spent some time flying in panic around the room, leaving his trademark behind. Some experimentation with the fireguard in the living room proved that he could have fallen down the chimney and pushed his way into the room and then the fireguard had bounced back into place. Eventually she found him, dead in a corner of the bedroom. The poor thing had obviously died of hunger, thirst and exhaustion. 

It was our daughter who discovered the previous bird invasion as well. This must have been about 17 or 18 years ago. She and her small daughter were living with us at our house. I had gone out to work early in the morning and there had been no problem. By the time our daughter got up, maybe an hour later, there was a rook sitting in the fireplace, accompanied by one of its fledglings. She showed remarkable aplomb and backed quietly out of the room and went to fetch her father: always a good move when invaded by birds. He opened the window as wide as it would go, stood back and crossed his fingers. Mrs Rook and fledgling flew out of the window without so much as a trace of their passage being left behind. Amazing! 

On the recent occasion, we were not so fortunate. Bird splat all over the show! So our daughter and the child who had been with her on the first occasion, now a young adult in her own independent right, set about cleaning up, washing bedding and generally restoring order. And a good job they did of it. 

So today, probably the hottest day of the year so far, I returned the favour by going to her house to help her restore order to her own little corner of chaos. Not bird mess, just the chaos that can be created in a household with two children (and a young adult), two dogs and a full-time working mum. The full-time working mum having just reached the end of her first year of teaching, we were trying to get most of the stuff done before the middle child finished school for the summer today. 

Despite the uncooperative vacuum cleaner (now replaced and on his way to the tip), we made great inroads. A new order was established. But at great cost! 

The first thing I had to do on returning home was take my second shower of the day in an attempt to cool down. 

If it's as hot as this on the border of France and Switzerland, I bet the Tour de France boys are relieved that today is a rest day!

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