***Rat watch update 15/11 - sleepless night due to mysterious scrabblings in bedroom cupboard - found some trousers with mouse-shaped holes chewed in them this morning (too frozen with fear to investigate in the small hours). Braved the kitchen to make tea this morning and came eyeball to eyeball with another rat, sitting as bold as brass on the boiler. They're taking over the world - well our world anyway....
Once upon a time there was a beautiful and talented writer lady.** Possibly the most beautiful and talented writer lady the world had ever known.
One golden afternoon, as the beautiful, talented writer lady sat at her wooden desk, typing words of wit and wisdom (more wit and wisdom than the world etc.) into her Word document, she heard a sound on the stair and froze.
Unusually, the house was silent. The dog slept soundly at the writer lady's delicate feet (the most delicate etc.) Her daughter was resting in her downstairs bedroom. Her sons were out foraging for food, and her husband was at the coal-face. It could only mean one thing.
There was a mouse (where? there on the stair! where on the stair? right there! a little mouse with clogs on etc.) Writer lady had recently suspected the gingerbread house was infested. There had been Signs.
Another noise. She gasped and braving the doorway peered round to see, on the stair (where on the stair? there on the stair etc), staring back at her boldly...not a mouse but a RAT. A big hairy fellow with beady eyes.
Writer lady screamed. She screamed like baby girl. Writer lady's daughter dashed out, rubbing the sleep from her eyes, not heeding her mother's warnings. The rat leapt gracefully off the stair, through the air, past daughter's hair, into her bedroom and hid.
Writer lady and her daughter clung together and trembled like little cowards. Writing, sleep and normal life was abandoned.
Time passed. Every sound was a Sign. Mice appeared. Another rat. Holes were sourced and blocked up. Scrabbling was heard in the walls. Traps were put down and ignored. 'We must be humane,' cried Writer lady, then screamed as a rat scuttled over the bread-bin.
The kitchen was disinfected. Husband crouched into the night with an airgun (any excuse.) The dog was derided for not being a cat.
Eventually, poison was purchased and scattered (safely - but not for the rodents!)
The beautiful, talented writer lady took to wearing her slippers 24/7. She no longer cared about being beautiful (though naturally, she was still talented.) She simply couldn't bear the thought of a rat running over her feet.
It had been quite a week.
**It's called artistic license, okay?