First thing this morning, Eddie trod on a lump underneath the sitting room rug in his bare feet. He was intrigued – what could the lump be? A fugitive sock? One of the dogs’ soft toys? A cup cake? When he turned back the rug, the lump was none of the above: it was a large rat, squashed as flat as a pressed flower. Eddie was surprised, I was surprised, but when the shrieking and rushing about had finished (the excitement was completely on the part of the human elements of the household, the dogs and cat were unmoved) certain questions pushed their way to the surface:
- what was a rat doing in the sitting room? I am well aware that we have rats up near the chicken run, but those rats are gentlemen of leisure who live a furtive life of ease. We each go our separate ways and our paths do not cross.
- having found its way into the sitting room, what was it doing under the rug? It would seem self-evident that any rat finding itself in a new situation outside its comfort zone would retreat to a cosy corner such as underneath the sofa and ponder the next move from a position of strength and comfort. There are many recommended courses of action it could have selected, from bolting out of the door next time it opened and back to broader horizons, to hanging around for a while to pick up superior supplies for the winter and gross out the household as an added bonus. But to take up residence under a rug in the middle of the floor? Why? and last of all
- at what stage did it shuffle off its mortal coil? The rat that Eddie trod on and inadvertently flattened was not a live rat. It was dead, and had been for some time, and though my housework is of the slapdash variety I like to think I would have noticed a large dead rat under the rug in the middle of the floor sooner rather than later. These were some of the many questions that framed themselves as I donned full nuclear fallout gear and ousted the rat.
And that is what happened first thing this morning.