Friday, November 14, 2008


***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?



Holy Moses Clarkey, I really feel for you. We once had a wonderful cat (alas he drowned in a ditch :( he was the best rat-catcher known to man, he use to bring his killings into the house, rats, mice, headless rabbits, pigeons. I miss him - (not) Tommox.

Look on the bright side this is wonderful writing material m'dear.


menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Oh I love rodents - truly. But I think having a big wild rat in the house might freak me. Hope you have returned to your whole gorgeous loveliness now that you have blocked the holes up! Hah a great laugh this post.

HelenMH said...

What a week! You really need a cat honey xxx

Lane said...

Cripey dipey! Have had rats brought in to the house but not live ones. Do you live near a farm? Do you sleep in your slippers? Have you ever heard rats in a rat trap (really not nice to hear). Have you had enough of my questions.

Hope Mr Ratty is outta the house for good.

womagwriter said...

Oh Karen, how horrid!

We had rats in our last house. (Why do you think we moved?) Never saw one, but there was plenty of Evidence.

Cats are useless. I have two, and recently we had a mouse family somewhere in the house - plenty of sightings of those! Final score was me 1, hubby 3, natural causes 1 and cats 0.

Hubby and I caught them alive, by the way, in those handy tubs you get from M&S with chocolate mini rolls in. Obviously this was after the mini rolls had been eaten.

Jumbly Girl said...

My worst ever rat related incident was - da-da-dah - the rat in the washing machine. I kid you not. The cycle was completed the clothes were 'clean' and the dead (at least I hoped so) body of a rat lay nestled in the window of the machine. I squealed and squealed and danced round the laundry room (sounds posh is actually small and cold lean-to).

Hubby won mega brownie points dispatching of the well washed carcass. Load had to be washed several times through and some items have never been worn again. Ugh. You know I'd forgotten about it 'til now - thanks :o)

Mickmouse said...

Oh yuk. No matter how endearing Pixar's Ratatouile is, rats can never be good in the house. Really feel for you.
I freak out if a large spider gets away and goes into hiding, not sure what I would do with a rat in the house.
Great piece of writing though, it goes without saying that you are beautiful and talented with or without slippers!

Jumbly Girl said...

p.s. for Tom Foolery
"We once had a wonderful cat (alas he drowned in a ditch)" surely the beginning of a wonderful pome

Jan Jones said...

Eeek, eeek, eeek.

We have rats outside. (The b***ers have dug tunnels under the heather) They steal food from the bird table. Husband divides his time between booby-trapping the various bird-food devices and standing with air-rifle peeking out of the crack in the front door ready to blast them.

Cat, however, dispatches them much more effectively.

JJ said...

The rat leapt gracefully off the stair, through the air, past daughter's hair...

OMG, I'm exclaiming like a girl. I'm traumatised on your behalf.

Eeeewgh. I hope the ratcatcher comes and rescues you.

Dumdad said...

Maurice the mouse writes: Freedom to all rodents to roam where they want! We are in the majority on this Earth and yet we have no rights, voting or otherwise. We shall not be ruled, we'll fight you on the beaches and on the sofas and on...

Dumdad writes: I would like to interrupt this rant from my over-excitable mouse chum. He's been eating too much cheese late at night. I hope you find a solution to your rates and soon. I like rodents but wouldn't like the idea of rats running loose around my home.

Word veri: squeak

Honeysuckle said...

Screaming like a baby girl's definitely the correct response to seeing a rat. Hope he's now an ex-rat.

We were once infested by - probably mice, but they looked like baby shrews (maybe a new strain of mouse from Poland or somewhere since we joined the EU). I couldn't bear to be in the house with them - there'd be five or six in a room at once. Ughh! Apparently if they're born in the house they think it's theirs and are so much bolder. You've brought it all back now!

Maddie Moon said...

Aaarrggggh!!! I'm screaming in sympathy, having palpitations just thinking about this.

I can't cope with hamsters in cages, let alone anything more terrifying.

Calistro said...

Ewwwwwwwww yuck, yuck, yuck! And double yuck to Jumbly's comment. I can see why she didn't wear some of the clothes again. I don't think I'd have been able to wear any of them *shudders* Hope you're rat-free soon Karen!

Amanda said...

Oh my God, Karen, that's my worst nightmare! We had a teeny tiny mouse that ate our wheetabix once, and a rat that sat boldly on our patio sharing the rabbits food! But on the stairs! Ahhhh! x

Dumdad said...

"I hope you find a solution to your rates..." Dumdad indeed. I meant rats.

laurie said...

hey, writer lady! you used the exact same google image that i used when i wrote about a rat in our house.

karma! kismet!

the post is here.

womagwriter said...

Ugh the stories get worse, and I'm not going to help any.

I washed a dead, disembowelled mouse once. I tend to dump dirty tea towels on the floor in front of the washing machine in the utility room, which is where the cats get shut at night (there's a catflap in the back door). When there are a lot of teatowels, I bung 'em in the machine. When taking one load out once, I discovered a couple were stuck together, with the remains of a mouse the cats must have had, gluing them together. Needless to say that entire load of tea towels went straight in the dustbin.

Karen - might be worth getting the council in to deal with your rats. They can provide traps and poison. A friend once had rats, and her council gave her tubes which contained poison the rats were supposed to take back to their nests and spread amongst their families. She found a dead rat in the tube, and phoned the council to ask them to come and collect it. The council employee assured her that the rats don't die in the tubes, they go back to their nests. But, my friend said, there's a dead rat in this tube. No, there can't be, said the council. But there is, said my friend. Its back legs and tail are sticking out, and they are are stiff.

Jean said...

How awful for you! Even though I'm reading this while sipping tea from my 'Rats have rights' mug, I must admit I'd be freaked out if I found one in my house!

SpiralSkies said...

Ew, nooooooooooooo!

I had naughty mouses in a house a few years ago - I was forever humanely catching them in a humane mouse-catching device then traipsing down the garden, over the bridge, down to the river bank to set them free (while wearing rubber gloves with elastic bands round the top, just in case) and I swear the sods were legging it back to the house before me.

Your story-telling stylee was most engaging though. I detect the rat-a-tat (see what I did there?) of a new comic genius (and also very beautiful, etc).

bfs said...

Tell me....what is the purpose of rats?? I can't figure that out -- thought I know there must be one!

Lorna F said...

Karen, what a nightmare! I wouldn't recommend you read '1984' anytime soon - it'll give rise to post-traumatic stress disorder! Mind you, what you're suffering now is current-traumatic stress disorder. I know the subject-matter is revolting but the post is brilliantly executed (unlike the rats). Good luck with defeating the little blighters! L xx

wordtryst said...

Holy moley. I would abandon home and hearth if a rat stared me down in my own kitchen (well, my mother's, really). You are a brave, brave, beautiful and talented writer lady.

Had a mouse 'incident' years ago. Caught him in a sticky trap, he died, and son cried and called me a cruel mouse-murderer.

Fionnuala said...

I cant tell you how terrified I am reading this. I'd have to move out! I cant bear rats...ugh.... The definitely belong in room 101. (Do you like the literary reference?!) Fx

Kerry said...

Karen this fairly put my lunchtime soup. Horrible, horrible, horrible. I have shivers!!

Fiona said...

Oh, I do love your writings and, of course, I sympathise with your lodger problem. Now if you'd care to invite me over for tea - with cake - I and my three terriers will encourage them to move on.

KAREN said...

tommo - That poor cat! Perversely though, I don't like their mouse/bird killing tendencies, although I wouldn't mind if it was a rat :o)

mob - I thought I loved rodents - until I saw one racing across the worktops. My loveliness is still in doubt...

helenmh - That's what my husband keeps saying! Sadly, Molly wouldn't be happy :o(

lane - We do live near woods and fields, so I suppose it's not too surprising. We did get one of those rat traps, but the little blighter ignored it. Probably just as well - they do sound horrific when they go off! My slippers are never off at the moment :o))

womagwriter - Next door said their cat was useless at catching them too! Might have to try the chocolate tubes idea - at least we'll have fun eating them...the chocolates, not the mice obviously :o)

jumbly girl - I nearly fainted reading that!!! How utterly horrid - I checked the washing machine very carefully afterwards :oO (And I agree about TF's cat in a ditch!!)

mickmouse - If it had been a cartoon rat I'd have been much happier. We could have trained it to cook perhaps? It's knocked my fear of spiders into touch, that's for sure!

jan jones - What is it with men and their rifles? I've told mine he's got no chance of getting one, but he won't have it. I think he feels all manly striding around with it, Clint Eastwood stylee!

jj - The rat-chatcher is coming out tomorrow, so let's hope he can do a better job than we have so far!

dumdad - You are joking about the word veri, right? Tell Maurice I don't mind rodents either - from a distance of at least three miles :o)

honeysuckle - Baby shrews? Blimey! We've already got glis-glis living in our walls, but we're pretty much resigned to that after seven years. At least they don't come out (often!)

maddie - I could never bring myself to handle my daughter's hamster when she had one years ago, never mind a rat running over my feet!

calistro - There's still some scrabblings in them there walls, but hopefully by the end of the week they'll have been dispatched!

amanda - I rather like the thought of a mouse eating breakfast cereal, but no you're right...not in the house, and definitely not on the stairs!!

laurie - That's so strange. To be honest I tried to pick the most friendly looking rat-picture - I didn't want to scare the readers too much :o)) I see you've been aquainted with a similar situation!

womagwriter - God, that's so gross :o( We have called the council in now, and we're hoping they've got special rat-scaring powers!

jean - I think that's one mug I WON'T be buying after the week we've had with them!!

spiralskies - Yes, we've done all that softly, softly catch and release type mouse-dispatching. Nipping out with daughter at 4am in our dressing-gowns, driving into the next village and setting them free. It was quite good fun looking back :o)

I'm over it now.

bfs - I'm sure the purpose in this case is to keep me away from the bread-bin. And the sweetie cupboard :o)

lorna f - And we're still suffering unfortunately :o( It's got to the stage where every little sound has us fleeing the kitchen and slamming the door behind us! I WILL be moving out at this rate.

wordtryst - That's the other thing. Daughter's equally terrified, but mention killing the damn things and she comes over all 'save the rat.' Can't win!

fionnuala - That's very good! They should definitely be banned forthwith.

kerry - Sorry about that :o( They've just about put me off going into the kitchen altogether!

fiona - You'd be more than welcome, but there might be a problem providing tea and cake. I'm scared to go in the kitchen you see...maybe you could chuck the terriers through the front door and we'll pop to a nearby caff?

Annieye said...

Oh my God Karen. We had rats under the hut once - bloody useless Labradors tried to play with them.

One night, when I still wasn't convinced the poison had done its job, I went into the utility room in the dark and sat on the worktop for about 20 minutes because I could see a dark shape on the mat, which moved when I opened the door. I managed to find a feather duster in the cupboard to flick on the light switch and there it was in all its glory - a dead leaf.

KAREN said...

annieye - I shouldn't laugh really. I've done the same thing - sat in the dark in the hall with my husband after rigging up a complicated trap involving a box a spoon a carrot and some cotton, only to realise that the 'thing' we'd been trying to catch was a flaming battery! The rat was probably watching from somewhere laughing it's head off :o))

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