Oh My Goodness! I said a terrible word in front of the children at breakfast!
It was a really hectic time - you know the sort I'm sure. 10 minutes till we leave for school, and the children are STILL slowly eating breakfast and only half dressed. My aunt had just popped in for a cup of tea on her way to work, and I was looking through the cupboard, desperately searching for something to make three packed lunches with. Magpie was behaving strangely, sniffing and squeaking at the shelves in the corner of the kitchen behind the clothes airer. This was most unlike Magpie, but it reminded me that I had woken in the early hours of the morning, and heard her crashing around downstairs. I had just assumed she must have fallen off the sofa in her sleep or something similar, and hadn't come down to investigate.
There, under the stereo, and covered by a curtain, are stacked hundreds of Cd's. I went in to have a look, wondering if perhaps the cats had brought in a mouse, which had escaped. After taking out a few handfuls of albums, I spotted a movement down behind the Tom Waitts collection. I grabbed them, and to my horror, there was an enormous rat!
That's when I swore and leaped backwards. As one, the kids jumped on to the kitchen table, toast in hand. My aunt retreated to the far corner - " You screamed!" she said accusingly " I didn't think you were that sort of person". Luckily nobody seemed to have noticed the F word contained in my shriek. Mild panic ensued, as I tried to decide what to do.
The kids suggested I got the gardening gloves and grabbed it - " You must be joking" was my reply.
My aunt suggested we ran next door to borrow their Jack Russell, an excellent ratter, but they were out.
I tried shoving Beetle towards it, but despite being thrust to within 12 inches of its hidey hole, he merely flicked his tail disdainfully and sat down to wash his bottom. Then suddenly , thankfully, the rat made a dash for freedom, and shot across the kitchen and out of the front door. Beetle appeared not to even register it's presence as it shot past him, but Magpie, after a moment of shock, raced out after it and down the garden.
So, this made us late for school, but the kids were pleased because they got to have school dinners instead of healthy packed lunch. Magpie was also over the moon because she felt she had been extremely helpful in removing the intruder, and she is still keenly checking the stereo shelves in case another rat should appear. It just left me, slightly shaken, and with the prospect of cleaning my kitchen from top to bottom. Still, there was a silver lining of sorts - while disinfecting and cleaning rat droppings from the entire CD collection ( it took an hour and a half) I did find an old Lou Reed album that I haven't heard for years, which helped me to while away a days work .
Magpie, Proud Pest Controller