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Photo Article: Meeting Mr Rat in my new bedroom – Report from The Greek Hovel Number 6

Tom Winnifrith
Saturday 12 July 2014

I procrastinated and procrastinated as I dreaded what I would find when I arrived at the Rat Room – aka my bedroom for the next three months. So I bought a spade to bash rats with and to dig out the “estate” at the Greek hovel. For tomorrow I start work on my eco-loo and humanure system. Then I bought a few vegetables for supper, rather forgetting that I have no knives or forks although the previous owner has left me a fine collection of quite amazingly horrible plates as well as a can of warm beer, which I have binned. On this trip I plan to stay dry.

Then I had a coffee in the local taverna where I sit once again this evening having failed miserably to get my mi-fi internet connection working.

But in the end I had no choice and started the drive along the long and winding road. As I passed through the gates I turned the car music up to 11 determined to show the wildlife that I had arrived and they better scram. With spade in hand I wandered up to the building and peered nervously over the ledge of the snake veranda. Maybe the snake repellent had worked for it was deserted.

And so I unlocked the door of the Rat Room and raised my spade. The sticky pads had been flipped. Mr Rat had been in residence last night. And the blue “sweeties” I had left for him had also disappeared suggesting that he would soon be on his way to “a better place.” But there was no corpse.

This is what a rat sweetie looks like.

And so I started the process of sweeping the floor rather more thoroughly than the previous owner had done. Mirabelle you would be proud of me! The two cabinets were emptied and moved and I swept under them. And then to the two beds both of which had layers and layers of rugs upon them. One by one I removed the rugs banging the beds loudly every few minutes with my broom. And then there he was…Mr Rat. Alive and kicking.

He looked at me and I looked at him. I had already found his nest with three well-nibbled sweeties in it and so I know that he is “on his way” but before I could think about how to accelerate that process he darted away underneath the other bed. I finished with bed one, hung all the rugs outside to air and then repeated the process with bed 2. But Mr Rat had gone…I suspect here is a hole that I have yet to discover through which he escaped.

And so with the Rat Room thoroughly cleansed as you can see in the pic below I have escaped to the tavern and an internet connection.

Right now I accept that it looks like a student room. It is sparse but it is clean enough. The rat will find no food and no bedding if he returns only sweeties and death. For his sake, and mine, I rather hope that he does not come back.

As an aside I offer you the view from the bedroom window and balcony out over the valley at the front…such a sight when you wake up explains why both Mr Rat (RIP) and I are so fond of the place.

And at least the former owners left me some chairs. I spent a happy break this afternoon sitting outside on the level below the snake veranda trying not to think of what might be above me, listening to the cicadas and to the tinkling of goat bells on the hillsides. A shepherd wandered past with his small flock and tried to speak to me in Greek. That was not a long conversation. Tonight I really will start to learn Greek.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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