I can explain why the chimney was blocked on Christmas Eve.
It all began in January when the farmer cut down the elm trees where the rooks always nested, so when they returned in the spring they had no rookery to go to. Unfortunately for us, our Elizabethan manor house with ten tall chimneys provided a very good alternative. We tried everything we could think of to get rid of them.
We couldn’t afford to put up scaffolding to get at the nests so we asked the sweep to push his rods up, but the nests were so well built that didn’t work.
We lit fires, hoping the smoke would dislodge them; that didn’t work either.
Finally Rupert, an ex-fighter pilot, and his friend, Nigel, an ex-bomber pilot, decided they would shoot the rooks. I only hope their aim when defending our shores from the enemy was better than their aim when firing at rooks as they didn’t kill a single one. So the chimneys have remained blocked all year.
I did leave the front door open but for some reason you didn’t think of coming in that way.