Tuesday April 23, 2019
Tom Winnifrith Postcard - an ode to my ancestral homelands in the Grim North
Photo Article from the Greek Hovel - good news and bad
Photo Article - walking around Stourhead with the Mrs and Joshua, the end of the Booker family memory lane


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Preparing for Battle with rats and snakes – Report from the Greek Hovel Number 3

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- Tom Winnifrith

And so we arrive at the Greek hovel that the Mrs has snapped up. Before I can contemplate the enormity of the task at hand there is the little matter of the rats and snakes to deal with. We have visited the village hardware store where – rather worryingly – about 40% of the product lines seem to be associated with dealing with, er…rats and snakes. Susan Shimmin and I are now armed. 

To the snakes first. I have bought two pots of snake repellent which I am assured will deter the creatures from visiting the hovel any more. I lodge one firmly ten yards from one corner of the hovel, surround it with stones to ensure that it stays firm emitting whatever it emits to keep the snakes away. The other I lodge diagonally opposite it at the far edge of what we term the snake veranda. 

On my first visit to the hovel it was on this piece of the property that we all encountered a snake. Having researched it hard on the internet I discover that this type of snake bites and can stand its ground but is not poisonous. At the time I just thought “Shit!!!! – how do I escape”

The snake veranda is not actually a veranda. It is an illegally constructed platform above the second “bedroom”. One of my jobs this summer is to knock it down. We will be building up this section of the house both properly and legally in due course but right now its only purpose in life is as an ideal habitat for lizards and snakes. Though I am an ardent supporter of wildlife diversity there are limits.  It has to go.

Then to the rats in my “bedroom.” Poison has been laid. Sticky boards have been set. If a rat ventures onto them it will find itself trapped. I will then have to finish the job. 

The hovel has thus been transformed from vermin heaven to vermin hell. It is time to retreat to a hotel for the night and to see what we find waiting for us in the morning. As a statement of intent I leave my axe and saw at the hovel. Into battle tomorrow when I move in.


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