Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Rats

So I finished the book I was writing and sent it through to the publisher's midnight Sunday, felt briefly relieved on Monday then plunged into an all-time low yesterday for some reason to do with "letting go". I woke up this morning and thought: "I really have to get a grip - it is a good thing to have finished not a bad thing." I got up, made porridge for the baby and the four-year-old, poured cornflakes for the six-year-old, made myself a cup of tea and drank it while I pretended to eat my own porridge. I looked up - 8.15am way too late in the scheme of things. I thought: "Packed lunch." Unusually the lunch boxes were in the car so I clambered into wellies, found the keys and went out to the car. One packed lunch box was fine. The other packed lunch box had been chewed by a rat. There is no way it was a mouse. There was a hole the size of a tennis ball in the bottom and both sides had been shredded. Not just a rat then, a hungry rat. I said: "Oh my God." I said it again. I picked it up and held it out in front of me. I said: "Oh my God." I turned it round gingerly in case the rat was still in it. It was not still in it but I said: "Oh my God" again anyway. I turned back to the car, reached in for one school coat then the other - I shook them both out. I carefully extracted one blue nylon book bag then the other. I slammed the car door shut, collapsed against it and said "Oh my God" again. This is what happens when you live in the country. I then realised although we have another car in which I could drive the children to school, it was blocked in by the Ratmobile. I said: "Oh my God" and climbed into the Ratmobile. I thought: "If I see a rat, I am going to be out of this car so damn fast." I reversed it down the lane and out on to the road much as Steve McQueen would have done if was still alive and did not think much of rats as navigators. I am not entirely surprised the car has rats. Presumably one weedled its way in through a hole or worse still, nibbled its way in. Thinking about it there was a brief spell when the keys went missing again, maybe a forager rat filched them and got a spare set cut and they let themselves in. A month or so ago, the farmer knocked down the barn behind us and we have been parking in the farmyard. I imagine there are quite a few homeless rodents around. It is hardly surprising if one or two have taken refuge in a handy car. Needless to say my husband was in London. I do not know if I can bear to empty the car out before he gets back. When he does, I may just say: "Darling I have a present for you. It is in the car. See if you can find it."

31 comments:

Marywin said...

I stumbled upon your blog, and enjoy your style. As for the rodent - homeless or not, set the car alight!

Life As I Know It said...

ACK! I hope the rat is gone for good.
We just moved from a city to a small town and had mice in the attic a few months ago. I *think* they're gone now...

Eats Wombats said...

Congratulations and commiserations. It's always a pleasure to find you've posted. It seems January is a thin month for my favourite blogs. Not for the first time I refilled a glass on finding a new post -- in the true style of a person brought up with the same cadences and antedecents. Your lyrical evocations are Proustian truffles. Elegant, eloquent, familiar, the currency of memory. And yet with that fine externally observed perspective.

Expatmum said...

It's very probably a haggis down from the borders!

laurie said...

ha. i can go you one better: i work in a big city, in an office building, on the third floor. and the other day one of our editors came hustling out of the bathroom because she had seen a rat in one of the stalls.

you can't escape 'em, wifey. rats are everywhere. like roaches.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Joys of the countryside. Get yourself a gun.

Crystal xx

Potty Mummy said...

Surely since it was your husband's idea to move there, he gets to deal with the consequences.

I do like the idea of rat going into the locksmiths and ordering a spare set of keys, though...

Flutterby said...

Watch the animated film, "Ratatouille". It might make you feel a teensy bit better about rats - or not. It's good for a laugh anyway.

Congratulations on finishing your manuscript.

Iota said...

Congrats on finishing the book.

Are you sure it was a rat? Maybe one of the boys got hungry in the night.

Mopsa said...

"oh my god" is just about the size of it. I yell for England when I see one (and I live on a farm)and the neighbours come a-running:
my own room 101

Ciao said...

Hi Wifey, get yourself a Jack Russell, that will soon dispatch any rodents that dare come near.

Mrs. Annie said...

Cats, lots and lots of cats. Not the family pet type, but the barn dwelling, rat eating type. Trust me...I live in the country too.

Congrats on finishing your book!

aims said...

Have not commented in such a long time - but now I have to say - congratulations!! Well done indeed!
(I'm so jealous you got it finished!)

@themill said...

...probably in the drainpipes, too. Much like London, really...

Kate said...

We have mice - hundreds of them running around the kitchen as soon as the clock strikes about 10.30pm. I exaggerate slightly about 'hundreds." However today my daughter Belle and I saw one at about 2pm. I won't go into the droppings or the fact that they can climb up to the fourth shelf of the food cupboard and munch their way through unopened packets of food. We have tried everything short of getting a cat. Please look at my blog - City Wife at www.easylivingmagazine.com/blog

hoppers said...

nothing takes care of rats like cats. Hmm. . I'm pretty sure you'll have to make them draw straws for who has to sleep out in the car. Thanks for an entertaining look into your life.

occasional northerner said...

Horrible brutes. We had them in our compost bin a couple of years ago. Live or dead I just don't like them. I still remember clearly seeing my first dead one one in a grain store as a child.

Wadds Tech PR Blog said...

Great news on the book. Look forward to the launch, but will it be some fancy place in London, or somewhere local? Cats are the only answer to rats.

@themill said...

An afterthought -you could ask Frankie to call in rentokill

Motheratlarge said...

Congratulations on finishing the book! Looking forwards to buying my copy.

At least there were no rodent remains in the boot and the creature had the decency to hop it after its snack. But still.. yuck.

Norman said...

Well done with the book. Now you can get on with the rest of your life. Er will that involve another book?!?
About the rat problem, the other commenters are right, get a cat or two, preferably half feral ones. When there's a rat around they don't take prisoners. Feral cats aint that cuddly but feed 'em and they keep the unwanted population down. Believe me! We had nine of 'em (cats that is) when we lived at Halton-Lea-Gate.

Mary said...

One of the survival traits that have served rats well is keeping their heads down. If you clump around making a lot of noise you don't see them. It is unlikely one is actually trying to set up home in the car, it probably just sneaked in and out. If you are worried about one lurking there, you could try borrowing a cat and shutting it in for an hour -- or just borrowing a cat-smelling blanket (or ditto with a Jack Russell)

Winchester whisperer said...

Sicily Scene recommends spraying the floor with a mixture of water and peppermint oil to deter flies.

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

At last, Wifey, a reason for learning how to shoot! Great news on your book, and congratulations.
Margot xx

mutleythedog said...

Did some sat something about a Jack Russell?

Maggie May said...

I have recently stumbled on your blog & love your style. I am fairly new to this blogging. I can go one better with the rat story, but will save it for a future post, in fact I can barely think about writing about it just now! Congratulations on your book!

Swearing Mother said...

Just open the car door and chuck the cat in.

farming-frenchstyle said...

No, our Rotty was better at ratting than the Jack Russell - he just snarled at my ex-husband!

Caribbean Newbie said...

I think you must have been in complete and utter shock at the sight of it, as I would be. I can't bear things like that. You even forgot the ages of your children ;-) I must say, you do write very well and it's a very good read. Keep up the good work of entertaining us.

Ro said...

Damn but they breed their rats clever up there. Maybe you need to consider installing combination locks instead? Their small digits might make those harder to bypass ...

Sandra Montgomery said...

Winchester... gee. Thats.... uh.... great. Now, what do you suggest for rats in the car as THAT seems to be the problem at the moment.

But save the thought. The flies may be back come summer.

Sheesh!