One day this week, there was an alarming rumbling noise from the chimney. The sort that makes you instantly think that something heavy is collapsing and it’s going to be mighty expensive to fix. I’m not sure what I expected. Clouds of dust and tumbling masonry, perhaps. Maybe a bird. We’ve had those before. Instead, I was greeted with the sight of a squirrel pressing its beady, little nose against the glass of the wood burner. It was standing on its back legs and using its paws in a way that I can only liken to a mime artist encountering an invisible sheet of glass. All it needed was a tiny beret on its head and it was as good as a mini Marcel Marceau, with a tail.

Anyway we looked in and it looked out. It couldn’t stay there.

Next problem was how to release it without spending the next week finding it behind every door I opened in the house. There was no way we’d be able to catch it if we opened the wood burner. Have you seen those things move? Also, the stress would be too much for it and I was not going to have that on my conscience. Same with a bag over the opening. It was not going to happen.

The Fix

We hatched a plan, which made two assumptions: the squirrel would avoid humans (and dogs) and head for the first opening to the big outside world. The whole family was called to action. They held up blankets and blocked stairs and doorways. Our front door was opened, which Hero the Hound decided was his cue to exit and go see what the neighbours were up to, because obviously we, and our unplanned furry visitor, weren’t quite so interesting.

Then came the moment. By this stage the squirrel had had enough. It was curled up in the corner, with its tail over its back and the tip covering its head. Hoping that when it opened its eyes, it would be back in its tree, no doubt. We tentatively opened the wood burner. The squirrel looked at our well thought out plan and said no thanks. It would try its luck up the chimney again and it vanished from sight. Mr TTC removed a baffle and the squirrel appeared, bottom first.

Maybe it was the change of perspective as it fell into the wood burner again, or the smell of the great outdoors, but the squirrel seemed to spot the open door this time. It leapt down and scampered across the floor and away.

Do you know the weirdest part? As the squirrel ran through, I couldn’t help marvelling at how clean it looked for a creature that had just fallen down a chimney, which hasn’t been swept since last year. I’m wondering if this is the first time a squirrel has practised its mime act in our wood burner. Judging by the noises in the attic, I’m now thinking we may have a bigger problem to fix. Looks like a peek in the attic is called for.

Fix the craft bag lining

My craft bag

It seems to be a week of problem solving. Both Middle and Youngest Teens have their heads in books revising for A Levels and GCSEs, at the moment. I do my best to make sure they have everything they need, but they are pretty good about getting on with it.

I have an old canvas bag, which is the perfect size for my sock knitting. It’s convenient to carry around. I can keep the ball of yarn in the bag, as I knit, and it stays in the bag, rather than rolling around the floor like a withering murder victim every time I give it a tug.

The inside of the bag is lined with a thin layer of plastic. Pointless, but that’s how it came. Over the years the plastic has broken up into little pieces and imbeds itself into my knitting. This week, I found a fix. I  lined it with fabric left over from a favourite summer dress. I made a pocket too, to hold scissors, needles and a tape measure, so they don’t tangle up in my work. Also a pincushion stuffed with ground walnut for my sewing needles. It is a real joy to use and I’m happily knitting the second sock of a pair I have on the go.

Somerset fix

Vicar’s Close

Our Uni girl went back over the weekend. She was home for three weeks. I think being away has made her appreciate the area that we live in more. She was keen to go for a few local day trips. Her Somerset fix. The last one we fitted in was to Vicar’s Close, Wells, somewhere I’ve wanted to go for a while. I love Elizabeth Goudge books (The Little White Horse) and she was born near to the Close. It features in her books and looking at it, I’m pretty sure it hasn’t changed much.

The far end is 10 feet narrower than the other end to make it look longer, which works better when you are there than in my photos.  Completed in 1348, it is claimed to be the oldest continuously lived in, residential street in Europe.

Freedom day

Tuesday was the first day the hens could be let out on to fresh ground in almost six months, due to the threat of bird flu. We divided our small flock over the winter to give them more space and less chance of pecking each other. With the freedom day approaching, we needed to amalgamate the two sets.

Fix the hens

They’re delightful birds but not too bright. You can put them in the same house over night and by the time you let them out in the morning, they have accepted the new set up as if it has always been that way. There was still some argy-bargy, but generally it worked.

Stone carving on Wells Cathedral

Other good moments

– Going ten pin bowling with all the family for the first time. Everyone had lots of fun.

– We’ve had it for a few weeks now, but we are getting used to the new electric car. We have clients inside Bristol’s low emission zone and each time we went in, it cost £9 and hassle. Next step is to generate our own power. That would be a good fix

– Making origami rabbits with my daughters. Middle Teen managed a good one. Mine was more like a battle torn, crumpled version. Imagine a cartoon character touching a live wire and you’ve pretty much got my rabbit, but we had great fun making them.

– Having enough eggs and rhubarb to take around to our neighbours.

– Lots of my tulips are starting to open. I planted them a couple of years ago and they are multiplying.

– seeing all the stone carvings on the Cathedral in beautiful sun light.

Stone carving over Penniless porch, Wells

Joining in Anne’s lovely Word of the Week linky. Waving hello to everyone, as I’ve not joined in for a few weeks.

Word of the Week linky


  1. What a drama having a squirrel in your wood burner. Thank goodness it got out safely. I think I would have just panicked and rang my dad for help. lol
    Your sewing bag looks and sounds fantastic and how wonderful the hens can go back outside. x

  2. ” a mini Marcel Marceau with a tail” properly made me chuckle! I’m glad Marcel got out in one piece. I hope whatever is in the attic can either mime what it wants or the solution to remove it is not too complicated or expensive. I love your knitting bag. Happy hens out of lockdown and lovely sunny weather. Vicar’s Close looks so pretty.

  3. Welcome back! I was enthralled with your squirrel story, I’m glad he escaped safely. I also loved your hen tale, my daughter is always saying she’d love to keep hens, I just can’t imagine how they would get on with the cats! Somerset has some beautiful places, I haven’t been for a few years but I always remember my pilgrimage to Wincanton to visit a tiny little shop. Sadly, the shop is closed now and you can only order online, so I’m glad I made it in time.

    1. It all happens here. I honestly think the wildlife will take over at some point. What was the tiny shop?

  4. The story about the squirrel made me chuckle. Glad you managed to get it out and it got out of the house. I can just picture it being like a mini mime artist behind the glass. I love the fabric you used to line the inside of your craft bag. What a gorgeous place Vicar’s Close is. Makes me want to go and see it for myself. How lovely that your hens are now able to have freedom again. #WotW

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