We arrived home from Italy at 9.45pm and there was a surprise waiting: a pigeon had fallen down the chimney in our bedroom, leaving a wide trail of soot and detritus all over the carpet and was calmly sitting on the window sill, looking me in the eye as I breezed through the doorway. I gasped, closed the door and called my dearly beloved.
MDB is a cerebral being. He swiftly drafted a plan of action. We had to get the pigeon out of the bedroom window without causing it to panic and fly around destroying ornaments on surfaces. Therefore the first step was to persuade the bird to move calmly to the other side of the room so that MDB could open the window. He would place a plate of breadcrumbs on the opposite side of the room, exit and wait for 20 minutes. He entered the room with the plate but, as he was placing it on the floor, the pigeon took off, hitting its head on the ceiling and came to rest on the mantelpiece next to the window, knocking into a jade box in the process whose top smashed on the stone hearth. MDB made a swift exit, grabbing various precious objects from the dressing table en route.
Twenty minutes later, he returned. His plan had worked: the pigeon had moved to perch on the chest on chest opposite the window. MDB opened the window and left the room. We gave the bird another 20 minutes to leave. It did not. Indeed, it seemed to prefer the warm dry chest on chest to the howling gale and pouring rain outside. We decided to leave it for the night and hoped that the dawn chorus would entice it outside in the morning.
At 6.30am MDB peeped around the door into the bedroom. He went in, closing the door behind him. A minute later, he emerged announcing, "I have some good new and some bad news, my darling!"
"The bad news is that the window slammed shut in the night and one of the panes has broken. The good news is the pigeon has left!"
"Really?" I said, impressed by the success of MDB's campaign plan. "Do you think the pigeon closed the window behind him? Could you please do me a favour? Could you look under the bed, just to make sure it's not hiding there?"
He did as I asked and assured me that there were no furtive feathery foes beneath the mattress.
"Hurrah!" I cried and marched into the room, MDB following.
I heard a shout from behind, "Oh no! There he is!"
The pigeon was perched on the chandelier. I expect it must have been quite amused to have seen MDB crawling around the floor. Elephants spring to mind.
We eventually shooed it out of the window with the aid of a broom.