A trip to Dorset: Thomas Hardy, ice creams and ‘gull-poo shampoo’

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Removing the seagull nest in Bridport

A slightly different blog this month. I was going to write about the two days when we attended three business fairs and the Seahaven Business Awards, where we were named runner-up in two categories, but instead I’m going to tell you about a visit we made to Bridport, Dorset. Now, you may be thinking…Dorset, that isn’t in the South-east! And yes, while the majority of our work is in and around London and the South-east, we actually carry out work all over the country. One reason for this is that, in addition to our normal pest control services we are also specialists in dealing with bird problems and are registered waste carriers.  

On Thursday 18th May we received an emergency call from a store in Bridport, a market town in Dorset – fictionalised as Port Bredy by Thomas Hardy. The store is part of a national chain for whom we carry out work all over the country. We met representatives of the company at a business expo several years ago and since then they have asked us for quotes for work clearances. They work primarily with a national pest control company but the downside of this is that, while they charge low rates on basic pest control, they charge exorbitant rates for individual jobs – the business model seems to be to charge too little for the contract and far too much on individual job. Because of this, we are often asked to provide quotes for individual jobs, such as the one in Bridport.

The store in Bridport had suffered water penetration at the front of the store and when the roofers had gone up on the ladders to fix it, they had been attacked by seagulls. The seagulls were just defending their nest in the valley gutter behind the front parapet but you really don’t want to deal with an angry gull, especially when you are up on a ladder. This had caused the roofers to abandon the job for safety reasons.

Fellow director Jonathan and I have previously carried out work at the store and so we knew the problems we might face. Principal among these was the fact that Bridport attracts plenty of tourists. The shop obviously wanted the work done as soon as possible and so we made arrangement to carry out the work early on a Sunday morning, before the tourist hordes start to march up and down the street. No matter how hard you try, wet bird poo does have a very nasty habit of leaking out of the bags and we really didn’t want anyone getting a “gull-poo shampoo” – although if we find out it has health-giving properties, I want to claim ownership of the name.

We travelled down on Saturday evening and stayed at a little pub in Crewkerne, about twelve miles away - trying to get accommodation in Bridport had been impossible, hardly a surprise considering its resort status. After a comfortable night’s sleep, the pub did us a lovely early breakfast and we headed down to the shop to get the work started, before the tourists had even finished their breakfast and brushed their teeth.

We have both had plenty of experience of dealing with angry birds over the years and so we put up the ladders, ascended the rungs and started to remove the seagull nest. We found that, unsurprisingly, the nest was also the cause of the leak in the store. It had been creating a dam-effect, causing water to back up over the flashing and into the store. We removed all the mess safely and efficiently, completely cleared the gutters. I doubt we were the seagulls’ best friends but the problem was cleared before it could get worse. We then installed a temporary net to stop the birds returning to the roof valley, cleared the site and correctly disposed of the waste.

You get to see lots of weird and wonderful sites in this job and, while it was an early start, not everyone can claim to have looked down on Bridport at time in the morning. We managed to solve the problem quickly and with very little disruption to the business or the people of Bridport. As you can see from the images below, the temporary netting won’t even be visible from the street.

To learn more about birds and the importance of making sure your property is bird-free, read this news item.

Bird net installed after the nest has been removed.

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