Monday, 30 November 2009

Poor wee thing (well .... er ..... )

Last Wednesday morning at six am I was on my way to the bathroom when I found something soft but not squishy, firm but not hard .... so after I was done I had a look to see what it could be and found a sweet little baby rat, expired between bathroom and kitchen. He looked so innocent that I felt quite guilty as having caused his demise ... (well, for as long as it took me to remember that the main sewer runs through the garden just under the windows!) As I suspect that is his ancestral home, there is no way I want him and his family around my house!! I hope he is the last of them: I suspect he was driven to search for food by his mother having feasted on the baited stuff. Whether it was he or another of the brood that decided to use my bathroom as a dining room and left the turquoise stuff on the floor ....

For those of you that are busily thinking: YUCK!!! it was not nearly as horrid a feeling to pick up a baby rat as it was when I knelt down to shut the conservatory door one summer night and knelt on a slug .... which made a nasty squishy mess on my trousers: THAT felt really yucky! Though I did NOT pick up said rat in my bare hands ... and he had chosen the right morning to die as I could put him out with the rubbish that day (I'd rather have buried him in the garden, but ... and the foxes might have dug him up ... yuck!)

I hope that is the end of the saga of the rat(s).

Otherwise, I got the house ready for the osteopath to come and see to my shoulder. The person who normally helps my mother out has come to clean for me and the house looks fresher and cleaner than it has for months. Hopefully we can have a good go at it while my mother has full-time help. The osteopath came and had a good go at my shoulder: it still causes discomfort (and I am a bit tired of that) but she said it would take time, especially as I can't really rest it.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Now showing: Fatal attraction

My last post reported the intrusion of a rat into the house. I had arranged a visit from pest control: no show on Friday. I was booked in again for Monday: no show. This rat was getting more reprieves than an inmate on Death Row, and I was looking up the gestation period of the rat on the Internet to see how long before there was a horde scampering around ... given that it might have been in residence some time before I realised it was.

On Wednesday the rat man came at last. Agreed possible entry via hole near washing machine, but you never can tell. Put down trays of stuff that looked like turquoise green cat litter which is a grain-based poisoned bait, fortunately not critical if you come into contact with it so I don't have to be neurotic, just wash my hands as necessary. Informed how long it takes to get rid depends on how greedy the rat is - so I hope it is the sort that would eat a whole packet of biscuits in one go! Removed other possible attractions (chocolate) so it had no options. Trays going down so hope rat on way out. Technician will call again in two weeks to check progress. Meanwhile info he left informs me that a single rat is most often a pregnant female looking to start a new colony, litter size six, gestation three weeks ....


I guessed as much - even the three weeks. Internet said it could be one that had been chucked out of its original colony, which makes sense if it is a young male. Could be that the older, established one didn't like the competition.

Either way it is (creatura?) non grata.

Engineer has been to repair machine and discovered battery charger was faulty and was overcharging the batteries. Batteries and charger both damaged and so required replacement. Hope this marks end of saga, but will still look into more powerful alternative.

Am now noticing the early arrival of the dark evenings: by 4 pm it is nearly dark and I am not inclined to go out. That is why I study: it gives me something constructive and rewarding to do in the too-long days of winter. Hopefully this week I will be able to get going on it.

Sunday, 15 November 2009


It is two weeks since I blogged: allow one for that cold to work its way out, and you would imagine I have spent the last week getting some study done ....

the best laid plans o' mice and men ... or, in this case, rats and men. On Monday morning I came to the kitchen to get my breakfast to find a pile of shredded bread on the floor ... what on earth???? And my M+S bread looked as though someone had attacked it. I didn't look too closely and fished a more-or-less intact slice out of the pack. The next morning I found another pile of shredded bread: once may be a fluke (the bread is very soft and difficult to spread so I thought it had collapsed inwards) but twice is something else. Having been a bit early-morning dozy the first time, this time I looked for something else for my breakfast as I was pretty certain something was into my bread.

Somewhat of a mystery, as my kitchen floor is tiled on a concrete base, so reasonably proof against invasion. However, after I had made my chicken casserole I left the kitchen and as I did saw a nose poking under the door, followed by a creature bigger and darker than a mouse, which came out from behind my fridge and disappeared I know not where. My best mate, who has had rats in her kitchen, says it is small for a rat, but I think that is what it is. If it is a small one it will have brothers and sisters, if it is a big one it is old enough to have babies ... either way I do not want it, and still less its companions, scampering all over my kitchen floor.

I called the Council and made an appointment for the rat man to come. I thought of getting a trap or two, but I need expertise, because getting rid of one rat will not get to the bottom of it: I need to know where it's getting in so I can block the gap. It looks as though it's gnawed at the Artex near the washing machine, but there's no hole to see. After calling the rat man, I remembered there used to be a cupboard behind the units next to it, which was covered with a panel of hardboard when they fitted the kitchen ... that could be a handy place for a rat to make a home ... Just in case, I asked around after Mass for an odd-job/handyman who could see to the hole and might have found someone.

Added to this, on the last two Sundays my little scooter has suddenly lost power. Last Sunday I had to get a neighbour to push me home from the traffic lights at the end of the road, and this week I had to get a taxi home - with a very kind driver who gave me push up the ramp into the house - so he won't need to go to the gym this week! The machine has a persistent fault, it seems, and the engineer can't test it himself: I have to road test it myself. There is now a model of the same small machine with a bigger battery which might be worth investing in. The size is perfect for my trips to Birmingham as I can get it into a taxi and around the house when I get there, but I have always had to be careful to watch the battery gauge as it runs down fairly quickly (and is a mite optimistic, to boot!). Not due to the size of the machine as the previous one I used was the same size and I had more warning. A bigger battery would give me more range (enough for me not to have to curtail my shopping trips, I hope) and more warning.

If you have been patient enough to bear with me so far, here's the chance of a reward:

Hop over to

where there is blog candy up for grabs.

Friday, 6 November 2009

What the doctor ordered ... so very NOT!

The textbooks I had ordered from Amazon arrived yesterday - lovely new books and one looks fascinating. Unfortunately a cold came along too (definitely NOT on the plan!) and so I have a woolly head, which is not conducive to OT studies!

My shoulder still hurts a bit, so large scale practical work is not a good option (though if I could move enough stuff around to find another book it would be a help) and I have a sore thumb (so small scale practical work can only be done a little at a time).....

Annoying in the extreme! Neither facebook nor novels appeal (I'm ready to study) but I can't take any of the things that would clear my head because they aren't compatible with the stuff I have to take already .... frustration!!

Monday, 2 November 2009

Monday morning!

and there is a nip in the air there wasn't before!

Midday brought the post and the vital letter from Maryvale telling me my first year results. I am now officially second year!

My first year grade was a B, which was a bit disappointing as I would have liked it to be B+, but I think I fluffed those two exams and so reckon I have got my just deserts. I was just very tired and I am not that good at exams - I have too much of a tendency to waffle. In an essay I can edit it out and replace it with better, but exams don't allow you that luxury! My last three essays were B+ and one A-, the rest of the eight B, so I just didn't have the extra edge I needed.