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China Girl blog 22nd January 2020

The garden has come alive, for three days there has been no rain. The sun has come out, how lovely the garden looks in its frosty coat.

On Sunday, Ma and I went to Huish Champflower for tea and Christmas cake with friends. Ma could hardly believe her eyes when she looked out of the window, as on the lawn nibbling the grass as if they were lawn mowers, was a score of guinea pigs! Quite wild, they scuttled off when she opened the window. They had escaped when their owners in the village were away on holiday. We have been told that in Elizabethan times, guinea pigs were used on a regular basis at Montacute to keep the grass down, however we are not sure if this is true, not having found any reliable information on the subject.

As time passes, memory fades, but not of the mice who live in the attic. Moses, our large Maine Coon cat is in theory, supposed to be our rodent operative, but when Ma shut him in the attic he cried so pitifully, we let him out! All of this reminded Mother of a larger rodent who had taken up residence in the boiler house. One night we were woken by someone walking upstairs. Creeping to investigate with a torch, we saw the intruder from the boiler house, a rat with an apple in his mouth, which he was attempting unsuccessfully to carry upstairs. On seeing Ma and her husband Alastair, he took fright, taking refugees at the top of the dresser, where he peered over the top, which was only four inches from the ceiling. This caused a problem, he was sitting in the well at the top of the dresser, and when Alastair tried to knock him out with a tennis racquet, he just bobbed down out of reach. The next attempt to get rid of him was by electrocution! Alastair cut the end of the iron’s flex and plugged it in, jabbing the live end at the rat. This had no affect at all. From somewhere he then found a bow and arrow. Tying the carving knife to the arrow and firing at close range only managed to dislodge a plate. By this time, it was 3am and we were tired out, so we went to bed, leaving a Labrador on guard. The next morning the rat was still on top of the dresser. We borrowed Wesley’s air gun. The rat won’t steal any more supplies!

This week will be very busy, owing to an upcoming birthday party, but more about that next week.