It was a Wednesday afternoon. We were hard at work when there was a knock at the door. Three neighbours, two roofers and a ladder wanted access to our roof to rescue their stranded cat.
I've never heard of a cat being stuck before. But sure enough, there he was on our chimney stack, stuck. He took one look at me and plopped right into our chimney pot.
By Thursday morning he still hadn't reappeared despite the lure of very smelly tuna to greet him at the bottom. We knew he was still there, sitting quietly, because of all the debris coming down. By the evening the owners were getting increasingly worried. He'd already been out for two nights prior to this chimney escapade. We thought we'd try the fire brigade to see if they could look down the chimney, where he'd jumped in, which would mean a precarious walk along the top of our roof, three stories up. They arrived very quickly but said they were only able to getting cats out who had gone in from the bottom, not the top, so couldn't help. They suggested calling the RSPCA in the morning. So we did.
Following this we had a stream of helpful people calling up the chimney. The RSPCA, friendly roofers and brickies, the fire brigade again (called in by the RSPCA), chimney sweeps, camera operators and a team of people from the Celia Hammond Trust.
From the camera fixed to the chimney sweep brush we could see Clarence was still there, sitting quietly on a ledge, but we couldn't work out which ledge. We knocked a hole in the wall in the loft, but still couldn't see.
So another night sat with rags up and down the chimney in the hope that he might climb out himself. Debris had stopped falling down, which seemed he was moving less. We needed to get him out quickly. We had to go in.
It was Saturday, a difficult day to find a brickie, but we were in luck. To try to work out which flue to break into we dropped potatoes down to see which rolled out at the bottom. On the fall of one there was a loud 'Meow', we dropped another and there was another 'Meow'. We'd located him. Half way down, half way up. So we knocked a hole through and found him sitting in an old, blocked up fireplace. A little sooty, but absolutely fine.
Last night we enjoyed the heat of the fire again.
Clarence is probably down to 8 lives, but after two showers and a cuddle on the sofa, he's back to his normal self.