August 1st, 2011

elizabeth fry border

A Bird in the Hand

So there we were yesterday sitting silently in Quaker meeting, when there was a tremendous kerfuffle from somewhere in the bowels of the house. After a while this resolved itself into flutterings in the chimney, and we realised there was a bird stuck up there. One member quietly left and returned with dark towels to trap it in, if it came out of its own accord, and we continued sitting. In the chair next to the chimney sat the House Manager who is the Quaker with the main responsibility, along with the Warden, for running the house. When more feathery noises occurred, she kneeled down in front of the fireplace, removed the logs, stuck her hand up the chimney and with a flurry of flapping wings retrieved the pigeon who had caused all the problems. An experienced chicken handler, she quickly subdued it and took it outside to release it, where apart from losing a few feathers, it appeared in good shape and flew off.

She returned, we continued in silence and after a few minutes, she stood up and gave some inspired ministry, along the lines of "It is a good thing to remove a pigeon from a chimney, but the better thing is to discover how it got in the chimney in the first place. Which reminds me of the words Dom Helder Camara "When I feed the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist."

A House Manager of many talents!