Further to my recent ramblings about wildlife/human interface, I have been proven horribly wrong about the nocturnal gnawings in my cavity walls. Contrary to expectations, half an inch of plasterboard is not enough to keep nature at bay. Last week, having woken in the wee small hours and gone in search of a bowl of cornflakes, I found I wasn’t the only creature in the house suffering from the munchies. For running amok in my gleaming new bachelor kitchen was a great big rat!
I must say, I felt somewhat violated. But imagine how the rat felt, commented an unsympathetic friend. There he was enjoying his morning cereal and in comes a giant naked man. A visit to the rat therapist would be called for.
In fact, Ratty did get a visitor. The man from the council came round (an impressively efficient service, I must say, and only thirty eight quid) and left a little tray of delicious canapés under the washing machine for my uninvited rodent pal. Hopefully by now Ratty is experiencing the morning after the night before, preferably some distance from my abode.
Needless to say, I got through almost a whole bottle of Cillet Bang after this unwelcome intrusion. My kitchen, always immaculate to start with, is now positively jewel-like in its gleamingness! Nary a crumb remains for any of Ratty’s pals should they decide to come looking for him.
Then, stepping out onto my riverside balcony to find some relief from the cloud of chemical fumes resulting from my cleaning frenzy, I heard a bloke shouting from the nearby bridge. Dizzied by the Cillet, I thought he was calling Ozzer! Ozzer! and wondered how on earth he knew my grammar school nickname. Surely not an Old Edwardian sent by Friends Reunited?
In fact he was shouting Otter! Otter! And there it was, a shiny-headed otter, swimming for all it was worth up the Avon towards Sainsbury’s, totally unconcerned with the crews of the nearby holiday boats busily preparing for their morning getaway.
As far as I recall, I’ve never had a rat in my kitchen and I’ve certainly never seen an otter, let alone in the middle of a city. Ratty and Tarka in the same day! It’s getting like Tales of the Riverbank round here.