Wednesday, January 23, 2008
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."