I never really saw it coming. The noises from the wall was my neighbour doing some DIY as they renovated their fireplace (we have a semi-detached house). The cat’s strange behaviour of just staring at the wall for hours at a time was simply a reflection of insanity and so we all continued in blissful ignorance. Then it hit me. Well, at about midnight as I dozed in the spare room trying to escape Ros’ snoring. Something was scurrying around in the attic above me. That initial thought of bemusement and intrigue was quickly replace by the brutal reality we had something running around up there. You pray it is mice, you dread it being rats, and you prepare to rebuild the attic if it is squirrels.
As the man about the house this job falls to me….a man completely unprepared and completely ignorant. I looked around, see no signs of anything untoward (not that I know what to look for) and I just drop some poison….clearly I had imagined things. Three days later my fears are confirmed, all the poison has gone….and the kids aren’t eating it. There and then the battle lines were drawn….Man vs. Animal (as yet unidentified). Every three days I spend £15 at the local hardware store and drop the poison in the attic. And as if to defy me – every scrap is eaten! Should I supply napkins given the enthusiasm for eating this stuff?
I’m not going to lie – it is a tricky conversation with the neighbours. I mean how to broach the subject…..’garden looks good, busy at work, do you think we have rats’? They claimed ignorance on the subject…they had heard noises in the wall, yes their cat was acting as bonkers as ours, but no they had had no problems….Several days later they reported the kids had been hearing noises in the attic for months and they had called in a pest controller. Apparently they had enough droppings in their attic they could plant roses in it come the summer. The pest controller thought it was squirrels and had laid down enough poison to kill a mature bull elephant in his prime.
Whatever it is…their numbers are being reduced. About a week ago in the attic I could just smell something in the air….death to be exact! A heavy, musty smell. Thank goodness it is winter, as I imagine summer would really intensify that smell! And so the battle continues….less poison is being eaten, in fact none has been eaten in the last five days. I see this as the results of a long drawn out battle where man has started to triumph.
These things are not about blame (right?)….but the obvious question is where did these critters coming from and how did they get there? My neighbours claimed ignorance and I suspect this one falls on our territory. The boiler in the attic has a chimney flue extending out the roof. I think whatever it is has squeezed through the gap between flue and tile. It has now been sealed-up!
Like all wars, those with the most resources have a better chance of victory. As such, I have installed various sonic blasting technologies around the house and I have been packing the garden with enough traps and poison that it makes North Korea look like a bunch of wimps. Ben keeps throwing disproving glances at me as if I am a very poor imitation of Bear Grylls trying to spot animal tracks that just don’t exist.
The only frustration is as yet…no bodies, not one. My neighbours are going on the fact it is squirrels, I suspect rats…but the jury is out until hard evidence is found. Meantime I keep spend my time listening to the walls and staring at the cat for any sign of either A) guilt he could be responsible B) guilt that he allowed this to happen on his turf or C) something, somewhere is still alive. The cat for his part has not moved from the comfort of the sofa for about a month…useless! As I write it appears all quiet on this western front…and long may that be the case.