We are coming to think that we have unwelcome visitors not in the front attic, but in the back attic. Something galloped the length of the ceiling overhead as I went up to have my bath. If it is a jackdaw then they are getting in and out freely — avian metabolic rates suggest that nothing of a birdish persuasion which was at large up there three days ago and unable to free itself would still be alive. We are inclined to think the answer may be rats, especially since the rhythm of the rattle of little feet overhead was not suggestive so much of a run as a gallop ‘quadrupedante putrem sonitu quatit ungula campum’, as you might say — with emphasis on quadrupedante. Perhaps they are opening a four-star restaurant or there again, perhaps they are not. ‘We could borrow a terrier’, said the Professor. To which I can only say, ‘yes, meaning, no.’ Somehow the idea of getting a Jack Russell up a ladder, boosting it through the skylight and awaiting results strikes me as wearing on the nerves. Perhaps I could leave them a copy of Elizabeth David’s French Provincial Cooking and hope they get the idea?

4 Responses to “Ratatouille”

  1. The Tropical Godfather Says:

    For what it’s worth, in Malaysia zoological happenings in the attic, to which my apartment is peculiarly prone, are invariably attributed to hantu, (which is to say, ghosts) and equally invariably actually turn out to be civet cats - often of impressive dimensions. Upon the whole, we prefer not to confront civet cats face to face, but experience suggests that a protracted dose of Gotterdammerung percolating through the ceiling at high volume has a certain persuasive impact.

    I cannot help wondering whether the Burnside disturbances may be caused not by rats, or even civet cats, but the rattle of spectral bones requiring the attentions not of a Jack Russell but a fat monsignor. Of course, getting a fat monsignor up a ladder and through the skylight may be a cure more alarming than the disease, but I’m afraid I can’t help that.

    Clearly the wisest, safest and quietest solution would be a prayer to the patron saint of Things that Go Bump in the Attic. Since the Professor has lately been gadding about with bishops, he will be spoilt for choice in his research into who the relevant saint is.

  2. Dr Biswell Says:

    They might be squirrels. Perhaps it is time to engage the services of a sniper?

  3. Jane Says:

    Our resident sharpshooter is, as you know, no longer resident. The poor sod is on exercises in North Yorkshire under two feet of snow — sooner him than us. The Northern Gentleman is also a good shot and alas, also, not resident — snowed in, I believe, on Deeside. Then there is your dear self… It’s a lovely idea, and we could send them off to Walker’s to become Cajun Squirrel Flavoured Crisps, but who could be in charge of the rifle?

  4. Eleanor Says:

    Squirrels is a good guess. We’ve also had raccoons. And don’t get me started on Franklin and the groundhogs… Suffice it to say that live traps and a trip or two with a crapping beast in the back have rendered the old Subaru a bit smelly.

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