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Friday 22 February 2013

In the words of UB40.

It's funny how there are some songs that you don't think of for -quite literally - years, and then something happens that means you CAN'T GET IT OUT OF YOUR HEAD.

Our kitchen is a fairly standard Victorian single-storey affair stuck on the back of our house, with only a tiny loft space above it. When we moved in, we had the roof re-felted, and the roofers told me at the time that they had found traces of what they thought were rat droppings in the roof space. Anyway, they blocked up the obvious holes, put new felt down and re-laid the tiles.

I hadn't really thought about it too much until I started hearing the scratching. Definite scrabbling. There was no way I could dismiss it as being a bird on the roof, or noises from our next-door neighbours. It was definitely coming from above my head, and the whole "rat thing" came back to me in a flash. So off I went to our friend Google and looked for local pest control phone numbers.

The chap I rang sounded gleeful when I told him my address. "Oh yes, we like it there, come up there a lot"


He and his colleague turned up within the hour and cheerfully poked about in my drains before poking their heads into the tiny loft hatch.

"No smell of death here, John"

That sounded promising.

"But looks like it's mice"

My heart sank.

"Yeah, looks like a family of field mice have moved in for the winter. My advice - don't do anything, and they'll move back out to the fields in the spring. You may or may not get another family moving in, depends".

Helpful. You see, if there's one thing that freaks me out, it's rodents. Mice, rats, hamsters, gerbils - my dislike even goes as far as guinea pigs. Can't stand them. Except now I appear to be sharing my house with a family of the toothy little critters.

To top it off, the wall of my study (where I spend most of my day) joins onto the kitchen loft space, causing massive paranoia about what might happen should they somehow venture up through my floorboards. I find myself making as much noise as possible - having music on, rolling around on my office chair, typing and talking as loudly as I can.

I'm a nervous wreck.

However, thankfully the lads of UB40 have also helped me come up with a cure:

That's better.


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