There is one subject I have yet to write about. And that is the business of the rats. Luckily, it’s no longer a problem, well, at least not a live problem. This was someone else’s problem and we are slowly starting to clear up the leftovers of that problem.
On the first few viewings of this house we didn’t spot the holes in the floorboards, or the big bite mark that had been taken out of the corner of the bedroom door. We didn’t see the scratches on the walls of the extension. I guess we just weren’t looking out for it. Our estate agent very considerately forgot to mention the former residents of Number 26.
It was on our final visit, when the owner himself showed us round and gave us a potted history of the house, which was very informative and very colourful, that we found out about the existence of the four-legged scuttlers. And that he hadn’t seen one for a few weeks, the poison must be working… Then we suddenly spotted the holes. And the small piles of dead flies along the windowsills.
We also found out about the other animals that lived in the house. Cats and dogs. Quite a lot of them.
So perhaps this was a final test, this discovery. It did nothing to change my mind about the honesty and integrity of estate agents, it gave us good conversation fodder for the way home. Do we still want to do this?
Yes, we do.
And so, fast forward 5 months and we’re in the house. That special faint smell still lingers. We’ve pulled up a couple floorboards and fished a couple very old, very dead rodents.
On Christmas Eve, I was safely back on the other side of the country at my mum’s place when I received a call from Chris. He just came downstairs in the morning and came face to face with a rat on our toaster.
So then ensued the hunt for the rat colony (which of course was what we thought must exist under our house). Poison was being eaten from dishes under the stairs, scuttles and scratches were heard in the night, or at least we thought we heard them. The Rat Guy from the council came out and gave us some advice, arming us with traps, giving us a bung to stopper a broken drain (the obvious entry point), and after about a week of continue obsessing and checking and waiting and checking, we finally came face to face with our nemesis.
I named him Elvis, we wrapped him in a couple bin bags, and finally he left the building.
Since then we’ve not heard or seen evidence of any others. We’re hoping the bung is keeping them out. But one things remains. The droppings. And those puppies left of a lovely aroma. If you pull up any floor board in our house, there is a potpourri of dust, scraps of paper, random wires and rat droppings. At one point those bad boys must have been running riot through our place.
And so the great rat-poop clear up begins. We know it’s there, it may not actually smell anymore, but we know it’s there. The poop must go. And this involves the joyous task of pulling up the floorboards (which are nailed down, by the way, not screwed), carefully sweeping (there is no concrete floor underneath, it’s straight on the earth), and extracting into small bags out of the house.
It’s a slow and glamorous job. And one I’ve successfully delegated to my better half, who has a much better nose for that kind of thing.