Wednesday, 23 December 2009

The end is nigh – but there’s worse still to come

Next morning – OMG the stench!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Can smell it from outside the room, daren’t go in! Silly me, have to put my contact lenses in, which are inside THE ROOM. Can barely put second one in, I’m retching so much. Run to the kitchen and puke up, well nothing really since I haven’t had anything this morning, but you get the picture. Now, think about it, what is in the room which is desperate? Well, youngest’s rucksack including lunchbox (!), shoes, PE kit, can’t think of anything else. Find old mask which S has used when grinding bricks and decide to use that – any port in a storm. Works fine although I rather feel I’m just breathing in brick dust instead. Decide to call in at hardware store on way home from school run and buy new mask.

Find one which says it protects against vapours, sounds about right. “Caught it then, have you?” they ask.

Return home and decide that one really should have breakfast before one tackles the really grotty jobs in life. And grotty it was too. In between bouts of running outside to get some fresh air, I move every single thing in the corner of the room, and eventually I find the source of the stench. There, on a box in the corner, is the corpse. I take it, and its accompanying flies, outside and put it in a sealable bag. One of the flies seems to want to stay with it, so it shall soon suffocate.

I go back inside and move the last remaining box in the corner to discover just exactly how it has been getting in and out of the back room. It has gnawed a hole a good three inches across through the skirting board and the floorboard.

At this point I reflect that in my life so far I have duplicated vast quantities of press VHSs of a BBC series called ‘Life of Grime’, and have also done rushes transfers since the first series. I can still remember the very first tape I transferred for them, which I made the very serious mistake of putting on and sitting down to eat my lunch whilst watching it to make sure nothing went wrong. What a mistake! The whole of the first reel covered a visit from the environmental health bods to a flat where someone had died six weeks earlier, during the summer, and they were coming in to investigate the smell. Jeez, the flies were having a field day! Ever since then the words “bodily fluids” have made me cringe.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, but probably not short enough for most folks, I now realise that when these environmental council guys go in, even though they have the white suits and the gas masks, I can tell you now from real experience YOU CAN SMELL IT!!!!!!!!!!! AND EVEN IF YOU CAN’T ACTUALLY SMELL IT, YOU THINK YOU CAN. AND IT’S TOTALLY DISGUSTING!

I never, never, never, never, never (x infinity) want to be here again!

And still the smell lingers……

Monday, 21 December 2009

And still we wait

Ten days later ….

Well for the last couple of days I’ve thought there’s been a vague smell of gas in the back room vicinity – an area where there is no gas.

After a bit you can’t smell it as much, you’re obviously immune. But every time S walks in the room he says he feels a bit sick from it - and this from a man with a cold whose nose is not, shall we say, at full smelling capability surely.

So by the tenth day since we last heard anything … I’m beginning to think there’s more to this than meets the eye, or in this case, nose – and possibly even throat.

I start to clear the area under the table. I put on the Marigolds because who knows what I will find? First real evidence in this whole encounter of what I take to be rat droppings. But they won’t smell because they’ll just dry out, as indeed they have, and they rattle satisfyingly up the vacuum cleaner’s hose. So onward. Remove more boxes – reach the bit under the bookshelves in the nearer corner of the alcove (think about it). First real discovery here – remains of a rat baby. I say remains but in total there were two shrivelled back feet, some bits of fur, something that looked like a piece of shell but I suppose it was a bit of skull, and two whiskers. Not very pleasant, not moving, and I can’t imagine that was causing the smell either, as there really didn’t seem anything much left to smell.

It now seems that to get to the far corner of the alcove, and thereby the far corner of the room, I will have to move vast quantities of boxes, shelving, etc which is far too much for today. So I tidy up a bit and leave it till tomorrow. I shut the window as I’m half inclined to think that the moving air is just making the smell more widespread. However a couple of hours later I’m not so sure.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

And so we wait...

Next day. Nothing. All day. Have read somewhere that rats cannot exist for more than a day without water, so possibly all available rats dead by now, but who knows …. definitely was one in the kitchen yesterday ….

Go to bed, shutting all available doors, making sure all three traps are primed.

Come down in the morning to find that the trap nearest the entrance to under the back room has well dead baby rat in it – snapped across the neck and flipped upside down. Chocolate still intact so left that there for next victim – if there are any more left. We’ve only actually seen three babies and they’re all dead now, but can’t be too sure.

Nothing for, well what is it, three days? After a bit you become blasé, you think about removing some of the temporary barricades … well don’t you?

So, just when you’re starting to relax … last night we heard rustlings behind the cooker. Now it’s not unknown for slugs to be around the place and as they slug their way across anything that rustles – well, it rustles, but this did sound rather more of the four legged variety. So - traps still at the ready, barricades reinstated. Next morning – well the plastic bottle is well out of place, but is that done by the wind. The trap behind the sewing machine has been sprung but the choc is still there – so have I triggered it by accident?