Tuesday, 4 March 2008

There's a Rat in the Kitchen (Almost!) Part 1

I didn't really want to start this story, but after all, it is The Year of The Rat! So here goes!

It was several years ago when I first became aware of a scratching noise low down in the kitchen party wall. Harry said I couldn't have heard anything in there because it was a solid wall, nine inches thick. These houses are well over a hundred years old. No way could anything get in there. Must be a neighbour rummaging in a cupboard. Trouble was, the neighbour was always rummaging in the cupboard, but now it seemed further up the wall. What was going on in there?
One day I was cooking the evening meal and heard scratching right at the ceiling level, followed by a thud and a scampering across the ceiling. There was a creature of some sort up there. Gordon Bennett!

Harry was never there when the "thing" was active, in other words he never heard it! Maybe it didn't exist except in my imagination. He couldn't have made that more clear.
I put up with "the thing" for a while hoping it would go away, only it never did go away. It started to party and other "things" started to scamper about with it.
Whether Harry could hear it or not, it was time to do something about it. I rang Council Pest Control on a Thursday. They would send someone round next Wednesday, as that was the day designated for our area and as "it" was not actually in the house, it was not considered an emergency.

The Pest Controller came in an unmarked van. Phew! That was a relief! He turned out to be a very pleasant, helpful young man. He said that although we are never far away from a rat, this area was a squirrel area. That gave me a glimmer of hope.
He climbed up a small ladder, took off a few tiles and peered into our kitchen roof. He said there was a bit of a problem. A sloping roof built over a flat roof ..... creature in a three inch gap between the kitchen ceiling & the top of the flat roof. He couldn't get at it because of the sloping roof being built right on top of the flat roof.
"Only one thing for it," the man said, "You'll have to cut a hole in the ceiling so that I can get a better idea of what we are dealing with."
"He must be mad!," I thought. "If I did that it would be in the house!" He told me it was that or nothing and that he would call round next Wednesday when the hole was cut.

After refusing point blank at first, Harry persuaded me to let him make a trap door in the ceiling. The very thought filled me with horror, but he cut a square about a foot each way and found another piece of plasterboard to fit inside. I bought strong duct tape to cover the joints because it made me feel more secure! Who was I kidding? Couldn't any rodent eat through anything?
I had sleepless nights worrying about whether "it" would jump down into the kitchen while we were asleep. First thing every morning I examined the trap door to see if it was intact.

The Pest Controller called the following Wednesday and peered into the hole using a torch. "Bad news," he told me. "It's rats! Probably 6-8 of them." He put two trays of poison into the opening and sealed it over with the duct tape. He would be back next Wednesday.

(to be continued.)


CrazyCath said...

Gordon Bennett Maggie why don't men listen? If he'd believed you it would be ONE rat not eight!

Typical. I would have been very tempted to make him make a spare room for himself with the new lodgers. In your imagination indeed!
PS Love the UB40 title. Very apt. Don't suppose you anesthetized them with some Red Red Wine?

Sweet Irene said...

Maggie, I would have been terrified with the idea that there were rats walking overhead with the potential of getting down, so I don't blame you one bit for worrying so much.

Why do some men find it hard to believe that women aren't imagining things? As if the women are just silly little things, like they are undependable children or something. Jeez, really!

Maggie May said...

crazycath .......You would have to go back to my first post to see the significance of the expression, Gordon Bennett! Yes, the title was from the UB40. If I was good at computer work, I could have got it to play the theme when any one opened the blog! 'Fraid the title will have to do!

Sweet Irene ..... yes, hubbie who thought I was imagining things was very annoying. I think it was a form of denial. If he didn't admit to a problem, then there wasn't one!
But he is rather deaf!

Casdok said...

6-8!!!! Eeeek!!

the mother of this lot said...

I wish I'd never asked now.

nuttycow said...

Hello Maggie May... rats hey? *shudder* I once had a problem with mice in a dodgy room I was renting for the summer. I swear they would run right by my head each night, tap dance on my hands and nibble my feet. At least, that's what it sounded like!

Dusty Spider said...

OMG 8 rats. Gordon Bennett indeed!! Can't wait for the next instalment.
Flick x

Manic Mother Of Five said...

I have a pathological fear of rats - they scare the b'jesus out of me....... Not sure I am brave enough to read the next installment!

My mum was brought up on the outskirts of Manchester in a mining area and never saw a rat until we moved to Norfolk and one sat looking at her from our kitchen.....

I am now sitting here typing with my legs crossed under me so a rat can't run up my trouser leg!!!!

Maggie May said...

Casdok............. yes, eek!

Jackie, you asked for it!

nuttycow ............ I'd die if I was touched by a wild one but have handled pet ones!

dusty spider........... well I'm glad you are looking forward to it. Maybe you will change your mind!

Manic mother ........ uncross them, I'm sure there aren't any your way! They are probably all here!

Cindy said...

Hi- found your blog via a comment you left on Twaddle, Everyday Rubbish. Can't wait to read the rest of the rat tale, or should that be "tail"?

GoneBackSouth said...

6 OR 8 !!! I would have had to move out.

david mcmahon said...

Okay, so I simply HAVE to ask the question:

Who's winning the rat race?

Maggie May said...

cindy ... good to have you call, sorry your first visit had to be during the rat period!

gonebacksouth ........ that was my reaction to the ceiling opening! I had no where to go, though! Had to stay.

David M .......... Well it ain't me!

Expatmum said...

Hate to tell you this, but you're right - they can eat through anything. We had a rat once that lived at the base of our kitchen cabinets. We could hear it scraping as it squeezed it's way round the kitchen at night. One time it must have become claustrophobic or something because it ate its way through the cabinetry. I came in to find a small pile of sawdust and a golf ball size hole in the cabinets, which must have been at least three quarters of an inch think. Just keep your brolly with you at all times!

lady thinker said...

We are all agog to hear the latest saga of the battle of the rats ....

Maggie May said...

Expatmum .... well thanks for that! Did you eventually get the varmint?

Hi Ladythinker ......... sorry your first visit had to be about rats!

San said...

Maggie, even mice give me the willies. Once we returned from a vacation and they'd taken over part of our house. Horrors. We live in the desert and this sometimes happens. I was less traumatized when I had a snake in the bedroom.

We women tend to hear things before men. I'm usually the one that hears something wrong with the car engine. And it takes my husband a while to believe me.

Came over from David's. Glad I did!