Friday, 21 February 2014

Vertigo

Regular readers of Going Gently may remember that I just cannot " do" heights. My legs go jelly- like if I need to lean out of a first floor window, so the thought of having to go onto the cottage roof yesterday to fix a few slipped slates, made my stomach do somersaults.
It all started when the dogs and Albert disappeared when I was cleaning the kitchen. Alerted to the silence downstairs, I found all five sitting quietly on the bed looking up at the ceiling.
From the rafters came the ominous  scratch, scratch scurrying of a rat in the attic.
With a heavy heart, I sat down to think out what I needed to do.
When you play the househusband , you are the one that has to sort out the problems at home
Sometimes that's a bummer!
I rang the council, to ask their advice, and a sympathetic soul told me a " little man with a van" would be around within 24 hours. They also suggested that any holes in the roof should be repaired, so with a heavy heart I schlepped around to John next door to borrow his ladders.
It turned out to be a day for going up ladders.
A nightmare for someone with acrophobia!
I managed to get around twelve feet from the ground before my knuckles turned white!
My knees started to knock and my mouth went very dry!.
Neighbour John ( who is retired) gallantly took over and shot up the ladder like a ferret up a drainpipe onto the roof!
Oh the shame!
Anyhow , I thought I could redeem myself somewhat and face off the rodent like a man, so I donned neighbour John's cycle head  lamp cleaned out the access to the attic from the cupboard in the bedroom and after taking a deep breath pushed a rather reluctant Albert into the roof before I squeezed my arse through the attic trapdoor.
I know, pushing the cat in before me was a pretty low blow, but I figured there was safety in numbers.
( I had considered using George too seeing he was the best ratter amongst the dogs, but thought better of it)...Rather gamely Albert got into the spirit of things and allowed himself to be used as pointman.
But even so, creeping up into a rat infested roof space was just a tad scary, to say the least
I turned my head torch v e r y  S l o w l y in the blackness and there sitting not six inches away from
my face jumped " THE RAT,"
I screamed like a girl
Hero Albert shot back down through the trapdoor
And all the dogs started to bark

The rat, turned out to be a rather sweet and dehydrated young sparrow........

74 comments:

  1. The fun you have over there in Wales is just so much better than any soap!

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    1. Do you think so?
      Sometimes it would just be nice to have a warm, sunny, boring, dry, day

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  2. Another great laugh. How gorgeous is that little sparrow!

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    Replies
    1. He seemed no worse for his ordeal

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  3. Aaaaw, the darling little sparrow! I am glad Albert was gone by the time the identity of the "rat" was established...
    How's the little one doing now? Did you give him a good drink and a nice juicy worm?

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    1. I let him go immediately
      He seemed fine!

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  4. Our 'enormous rat in the loft' turned out to be a tiny mouse with one foot stuck in a mousetrap, galloping back and forth. My 'househusband' had tied string round the bottom of his trouser legs - Frank Spencer anyone? - and shoved a terrier up the loft hatch first. He came back down with a mouse with a limp....

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    1. You forget that EVERYTHING is amplified on an attic floor?
      Gawd knows what a real rat would sound like?
      A frigging elephant

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  5. I am so with you when it comes to ladders. I remember once having to paint the window trim on the summer cottage. I finally did it by taking the upper windows out, carrying them downstairs and then painting them.

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    1. I am going to get a little man with a brush in

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  6. I cannot ascend heights either; I experience the same feelings as you do. but thank you for rescuing that cute bird!

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    1. It was only luck that I caught him
      I was happy to let Albert finish him off

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  7. Much nicer than a rat!
    Hubby couldn't bring himself to get up on the roof to put back a slipped tile last weekend. After contacting 3 people to come and do it for me, 2 of whom didn't want to and 1 of whom hasn't got back to me, he is, in his own words, going to have to ' grow some balls and get up there and do it'. Thankfully we live in a bungalow, but it has a large roof ( attic space is converted) and the slipped tile just had to be one that sits right below the ridgeline.

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    1. I am so with your hubby
      Sod the " being a real man" thing
      Just get the retired neighbour to do it!
      Bless him

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  8. Oh sweet...hope he/she was ok. Rats stink so you tend to smell them long before you see or hear them in my experience. I sympathise/empathise with your height issues..

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    1. I friggin hate rats!
      Big style

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  9. what? no video? i would have paid to watch it!

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  10. I can't 'do' heights either, exactly the same symptoms as you - that's why we were situated on the ground level at the 'Strictly' show the other week and my friend thinks it's great to go to these events with someone with vertigo - front row seats assured!Sweet little sparrow.

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    1. I always have the urge to jump when I sit up in the gods at a theatre!

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  11. Phew....thank goodness it was just the wee birdie and Albert didn't get it. I hope your scream didn't send the man on the roof flyng off.

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  12. I once took down a false ceiling in the kitchen of our first French home. Not only did I find piles of rat nests, but also several newly laid eggs. How they got them in there is still a mystery, but I was told they do it in pairs; one carries the egg, and the second pulls the first by it's tail.

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  13. You had me laughing my ass off again here! But I can't laugh too much because I am afraid of heights as well. Seriously afraid of them. And how adorable that it was a sparrow!! Did it fly away?

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    1. It lived to fight another day

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  14. Our rat man looks like.... a rat ! I am a wuss with ladders / heights rats too x

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  15. OMW what a twist in the tale of the rat!

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  16. We have the odd starling down the flue of the woodburner...fortunately when it hasn't been lit...they eventually arrive very sooty but otherwise intact...and we get a bit of a free chimney clean as they always bring down soot...

    We had one down a disused chimney the other week...fortunately there was one of those air vents we were able to unscrew once all the cats were shut away and let him out.

    Poor you with heights...have you ever been on the London Eye? I can't even stand on a chair and not feel faint but was fine in a glass pod.

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    1. Now I loved the eye.. I have loved being up he Empire State
      I just cannot stand close to windows and certainly cannot look over a rail or be on a balcony
      I once had to be saved from the open observation deck of the Seattle space needle
      The woman that led me off was an elderly Japanese tourist

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  17. After hearing noises in our house loft. I climbed up the ladder ( I don't mind heights) and threw the cat in. The cat promptly turned round and ran down my back, scratching my neck. Serves me right!. Same here, turned out to be birds, not rats.

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    1. A woman after my own heart

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  18. Oh, John. That is such a good story. So glad Albert proved himself useless. I used to set our cats onto indoor spiders. Eventually they realized that once they'd done the dirty work I wouldn't stroke them for hours. Couldn't stand the thought of that spider in there being inside them, digested as they purred. So, eventually, the cats wizened up. And went on strike. Catch your own spider they miaowed. Though I personally blame the spider. Spiders will sit still - for ages. Since cats are only interested in that which moves they lost it [interest]. Off to chase a butterfly.

    Ever been up the Eiffel Tower?

    U

    PS Correct me if I am wrong but didn't you go on the London Eye on one of your sojourns to the capital?

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    1. It's strange usula but I adore skyscrapers and things like the London eye
      But get me " outside" and that's me done

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  19. I had a similar encounter last year John. It was about 3 in the morning and my Jack Russell terrier was barking mad outside near the old cart house. I put on the light (showing the burglars where I was) and threw on my clothes and gingerly crept out the front door. I picked up a stick and shouted:

    "C'mon you b*stard."

    Then I looked inside the cart house and saw a big ginger tom cat pawing and spitting at my terrier. Cat burglars?

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  20. So did neighbour John also fix the slipped slates or did you manage to do that in between multiple panic attacks?

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    1. Yes, he's a real bloke...all the slates were repaired

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  21. I believe one must attend ladder university for two years for an associate degree in using them; anyone without the degree is barred.

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    1. I would still fail my finals

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  22. Ms Sparrow thanks you for your gallant rescue!

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    1. Is your hubby called Jack?

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    2. No hubby--that's why I'm called Ms.

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  23. Last time we investigated a strange noise, it was a weasel in our house. I shut the door and left Chris to it.
    Jane x

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    1. I would pick a weasel over a rat anyday

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  24. As taut and suspenseful a thriller as The Exorcist!

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    1. Max Von sydow could play me perhaps?

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    2. Darling, maybe 30 years ago! I wonder what Daniel Craig would look like with full facial hair and a stained sweater?

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    3. Delicious ...he would look delicious

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  25. The sparrow is definitely young....part of it's beak is still yellow. Poor little fledgling....did he make it?

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    1. Well he flew away quite strongly

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  26. I once stayed in a rental cabin that had a wood stove in the corner - the hole in the ceiling for the stove pipe was rather too large, leaving a big gap.
    The first night I heard scratching and squeaking and I imagined rats squeezing down thru the stovepipe gap. I called the owners in a panic - not to worry, they said, it's only bats.
    I was not relieved.
    Glad your little sparrow was recovered intact!

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  27. My peripheral vision is double so absolutely no heights for this old man. I sometimes get “jelly legs” just standing up.

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  28. Replies
    1. This may be the best response I have ever read. LOL

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  29. aw poor birdy and poor Albert

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  30. I daresay it is like a three ring circus over there. I am so sad I do not live closer LOL

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    1. A quiet lunatic asylum

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  31. So nice to know you can count on Albert!

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  32. John - dont worry about the heights thing - because you are a very brave man - putting a cat, you, and a very little critter in a small space - you are lucky you didnt get in a tussle with albert over that poor little sparrow!

    Another good redeeming quality - you gave a little sparrow a second life - good man!

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  33. John you are a sweetie, there is no other word for it.
    And I learned a new word for fear of heights.

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  34. We had rats in our house a couple of years ago. I am a big softie when it comes to animals and would never harm a living thing but I ended up hating the rats and felt I was at war trying to get rid of them. When I phoned the council I was told there was a two week waiting list!!! So we had to take matters into our own hands but we still couldn't get rid of them all. In the end I phoned the council and told them to get round here ASAP. They were with me within an hour and discovered there were rats all round the neighbourhood, attracted by bird food apparently. I remember standing at the sink washing up and hearing a rat in the cupboard under the sink, We could hear them at night running across the ceiling and scrabbling in the walls. Fortunately, I'm not scared of rats but I now hate them!

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    1. I once almost strangled a rat after it ran amok in the living room
      I hate them with a passion

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    2. I don't think you'd manage to catch a rat John. I set our dogs on them as they ran across the garden and they didn't manage to catch them!

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    3. Have a look at my post A RAT UNDER THE SOFA

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    4. Your rat must have been an old one with a wooden leg if you managed to get hold of it!! Ours were impossible to catch. We caught one in a trap in the attic and poisoned the others by stuffing the poison into the gaps they had chewed in the walls. Took about a week to get rid of them all once they took the poison. Advice to everyone - block up all holes in your outside walls and roof. Ours got in through the gap round the new central heating pipe into the house. Problem is once they get in they invite all their friends round and start breeding and the numbers multiply!

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  35. I hate going up on roofs, refuse to do so. The little bird is so lucky you rescued it.

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  36. Everyone is afraid of something. I'm not fond of heights either.
    When I started reading your post, my first thought was to put Albert up there, too. ;-)
    Reminds me of when I was hanging laundry a few months ago and looked up to see a wren in the bathroom. It is an unused bathroom until repairs can be made. Apparently there is a hole in the floor. The bird must have hopped under the house and into the hole.
    Stupid bird.
    I told hubby and he went into the bathroom and opened the window so the bird could fly out.
    Have a good weekend!

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  37. Awwwwww! What a pretty ending! Smiling here!

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  38. I've had an extremely tension filled day at work. Your story brought forth a belly laugh! Thank you, John.....

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  39. Sweet ending, but no bones broken, no one falls through a ceiling, no rat bites. While I am not afraid of heights, I did once lose my nerve when painting a roof. I had to slide on my stomach across the roof to get down.

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  40. Oh, how I love your adventures, you coward.

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  41. Hahahaha you are as big a coward as I am!! I could imagine the terror getting on a roof John. I have terrible vertigo also, even out driving if I go over the ranges here I have to stop the car and let HI take over as I am prone to bouts of dizzyness and stomach churning and it takes all my willpower not to scream!
    Hope the sparrow got over the ordeal.

    Jo in Auckland, NZ

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  42. Well at least you rescued it and didn't whop it with a telephone directory in complete and utter terror.

    Well done ... you are my hero :-)

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  43. Mine too~! Thanks for the laugh.

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