When we first moved to Spain, we lived in an old, stone house. One evening in the autumn my bipeds decided to light a fire, as the weather had turned cold. This didn’t turn out to be a very good idea – the smoke billowed into the room! The bipeds opened the windows and fiddled around with the fire for a while, but it didn’t take them long to decide that the chimney needed cleaning and they put the fire out.
On Sunday morning Juan, the man who owned the house, came by to collect something he needed. He said he was surprised that we didn’t have a fire now that the weather had turned cold. My bipeds told him that it smoked too much and that the chimney needed cleaning.
He replied, “I can’t do anything now, I’ll come back after lunch and clean it with you.”
We were surprised when he returned later that afternoon, we had discovered that when he said “after lunch” he didn’t usually mean the same day! He was holding a coil of thick electrical cable. The male biped asked him if he would like help bringing his tools in – we were expecting to see a brush with rods to push it up the chimney.
Juan replied, “This is it! Do you have any secateurs or shears?”
My bipeds looked really puzzled now, but found a pair of shears for him. He took the male biped off down the garden. The female biped put the cats in the bedroom and closed the door and then she taped some rubbish sacks over the fireplace. She said to me that she had no idea what was going on, but we might as well be prepared for a mess!
I went out onto the terrace and I saw that Juan had a pile of twigs from the Holm oak. He was tying them up halfway along the cable that he had with him. The male biped was asking him what he planned to do, but he just kept saying, “You’ll see!”
They came back into the house and Juan asked the male biped to wait by the fireplace. Juan disappeared up the narrow stairs to the loft without explaining. My bipeds wondered whether there was an opening in the chimney up there, for cleaning purposes. From my vantage point on the terrace, I saw Juan climbing out of the small window on the roof. I barked because that didn’t seem right at all. The female biped popped out to see why I was barking. She told me to be quiet, or I could join the cats – how rude! But she looked a bit worried when she saw Juan strolling across the roof to the chimney.
Juan dropped one end of the cable down the chimney and shouted down the chimney to my biped to pull the cable. My biped started pulling and Juan kept asking whether he could see the twigs yet. When my biped said that he could see the twigs, Juan asked how much soot had come down the chimney. He told my biped to keep hold of the end of the cable and Juan pulled the twigs back up!
They repeated this about half a dozen times and then Juan dropped his end of the cable down the chimney. He walked back along the roof and climbed back in the window and came down. He untied the twigs and left them in the fireplace with all the soot. He coiled the cable back up. My bipeds asked him if he’d like to sit with them and have a drink. He declined, saying that he was going home to finish the bottle of wine he’d started with his lunch.
The bipeds cleaned up and lit a fire. They let the cats out of the bedroom and the cats were very pleased to find it was warm and they got as close as they could to the fire. My bipeds said that they didn’t think it was a very good idea to go for a stroll on the roof after drinking wine, but they were relieved that all had ended well. The fire still smoked, but not nearly as much!
See you next Wednesday!