Shed by trees and strewn around the garden’s beds and paths, last winter’s twigs would have filled a mattress.


Those I gathered this afternoon certainly occupied the best part of one of our orange bags of ‘green’ refuse destined for the recycling centre.

Father Christmas was generous with hose this year. Even so, my sock drawer gradually became surprisingly full to overflowing. Jackie’s, however, was rapidly emptying. Eventually she realised that I had been mistaking hers for mine.

Jackie's socks and hearth

I really have no claim on these.

Also shown here are the cast iron fireplace and the wooden surround still awaiting final fixing. The copper fender was a present from our son and daughter, so must be accommodated. The blue tiles were already in situ. Whilst the laminate flooring is quite good quality, if you like that sort of thing, it has been appallingly fitted and we really would like to see the back of it. That, of course, would require lifting it to reveal what we hope will be the original floorboards. With any luck these will not have been butchered. Fingers crossed.

Readers will remember that, hands flattened on our kitchen window, bewhiskered nose twitching, an amiable rat peered longingly at our Christmas dinner. Some time after that Jackie discovered holes in the birdseed on the utility room shelf; later still, she heard rustling. It was time to put down bait. On a daily basis, the poisoned seed was disturbed in the morning. Either our visitor deserved the name Rasputin allocated to him, or his whole family had followed, or come to look for him when he didn’t return.

Rat bait

We were rather sad when, today, we discovered an undisturbed pile of bait.

This evening we dined on starters of prawn toasts and spring rolls from Tesco; Jackie’s sublime egg fried rice; and Lidl’s tender oriental pork. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank San Adres Chilean merlot.

52 responses to “Rasputin”

  1. Oh Rasputin …. le pauvre. Sadly though there are those with whom it is just not possible to coexist. Your laminate floor will give me nightmares of our house in MarcolΓ¨s (work in progress) which sported laminate floor on the walls …. I had just about come through that chapter, with intensive counselling and the aid of plenteous fermented grapes but now I’m back to square one πŸ˜‰

  2. I too did battle with the twigs today, but have long ago solved the sock issue by moving mine to a secret location…what a thing to have to hide from one’s wife. πŸ™‚ Looking forward to seeing more of the garden as it grows.

  3. Too funny…the battle with the rat…we had a family of field mice…my husband said there was only one…when is there only one(?!)…the two cats made short work of the lot…of course tiny mouse feet dangling from cat mouths causes quite the disturbance at breakfast. πŸ™‚

  4. I have been watching the posts the last few days and thinking . . . and so it begins . . . I was referring to the garden maintenance, rather than the new beginnings for your rat family in their ever-after life. Poor things. They make quite nice pets in the right environment I am told. My brother had a white one called Herman. I still have the letter he wrote our Auntie to say it had run away (to join the circus perhaps?). Good luck with the floorboards. It should look good if they are sound – but what about the height of your doors? Have they been trimmed down to accommodate the laminate flooring?

  5. Oh woe, reminds me of a midnight rat we had last year in our wall behind the shower. He would scratch late at night and keep us from sleeping ( and drove the cats crazy). Thommmee finally got under the house with several traps and about a week later alas… his little life came to an end ( for which I was very grateful).

  6. I like the copper against the blue of the fireplace. Good luck with the flooring. We put down laminate in our kitchen, but there was nothing nice underneath. When we first moved in, the whole kitchen was covered in green indoor/outdoor carpet. Hideous!

    Poor Rasputin, but I’d freak out if there was a rat here. We’ve had mice, but that’s it, and the cats have caught them–though that’s not fun to see.

  7. Only yesterday I was discussing rats & things with Mike Rendell, aka The Georgian Gentleman.
    Perhaps you should call upon the services of The Georgian Gentleman’s friend, been catching all sorts of nasty things for 320 years or more; sure a few rats wouldn’t faze him!

  8. I am morbidly afraid of anything rodent. We had one living in our storage room for awhile but Monkey (cat) caught him and took him outside. I thought we were done with them until the second snowfall a few weeks ago. A bag of cans and bottles somehow made it out back and has been chewed through with a couple of water bottles strewn around.

  9. On the rats, cats work quite well!
    On the floorboards, my advice would be to prise up the sticky-outy one and investigate underneath before undertaking anything rash. It needs a bit snipped off the end, anyway, to force it into line.

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