Invasion of the rats
The rodent situation has taken a turn for the worse. We haven’t heard much lately from the mouse that chewed through an alarm cable a couple of weeks ago, and the traps haven’t caught anything, but I came in from a spot of gardening yesterday to find my dear husband ripping up more floorboards. He had been sitting downstairs quietly having a cup of tea when he heard something large scurry under the floor beneath him and start trying to claw its way through an obstruction. He reacted by deciding to rip up the floor, or at least enough of it to enable the cat to get down there. The cat, predictably enough, showed little interest, even when we uncovered droppings that are far larger than any mouse ever produced. We undoubtedly have rats in residence beneath our feet. Oh b*gger.
My better half was all for leaving the floorboards up and giving the cat access to the room in question overnight. I had visions of coming down to breakfast to find rat – or possibly cat – body parts strewn bloodily all over the place, and persuaded him that the last thing we should be doing is giving the rats easy access to the house. A better idea would be to find out where they are getting into the under-floor space and put a stop to it. Sealing up mouse-sized holes is an impossible task in an old house, but it should be possible to stop rats getting in, shouldn’t it?
Accordingly, we spent an hour this morning lifting the three manhole covers in our garden and then pouring water down drains and fallpipes in turn while peering at the revealed drainage gullies to work out what connects to what. I had a feeling there was a disused drain somewhere that perhaps hadn’t been sealed off. We had a new drain installed a few years after moving in because the kitchen waste appeared to go to a soakaway.
This morning’s exercise identified two apparently disused drains, not one. I say “apparently” because it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that they are carrying surface water run-off from somewhere on the property (our foul water and surface water all feeds into a combined sewer). Consequently, I’m reluctant to adopt the permanent solution of blocking these drains with concrete, we may live to regret it the next time it rains hard. But whatever we stopper them up with needs to be rat-resistant, a bit of chicken wire isn’t going to cut it. We’re going to use expanding bungs that comprise two metal plates separated by a rubber middle section which expands outwards when a central wing nut is tightened. All I have to do now is find somewhere locally that sells them.
Egg cosies and the Ginkgo Crescent
I have finished knitting egg cosies, having done 11 of them. All the cosies produced by my knitting group are selling well and we’ve raised £70 for charity so far, with some still available for sale between now and Easter. I made this panda one in the style of the Twins Funny Egg Cosy Gang, and then went off-piste and produced a dinosaur, making up the pattern as I went. I wasn’t terribly happy with it but someone bought it, bless ’em.
I haven’t made much progress with my Ginkgo shawlette this week, mainly because I’ve started another MOOC. The two that I was doing have both finished and it felt idle to be knitting while watching TV instead of while watching video lectures. This new MOOC requires more of my concentration though, and the lectures often pause to allow the watcher to consider a problem and then input the answer, which means I have to keep putting down my knitting to pick up paper and pencil instead.
However, I’ve finished the first full ball of yarn, after 13 rows of the lace pattern. Unfortunately, my calculations predicted that I would have managed 16 rows, so I’m wondering whether I’ll have enough yarn to do the one-and-a-half repeats that I was planning. I will press on and hope for the best.
In the photo above the eyelet edge has rolled back as if it’s too tight, but this is a top down shawl so I’m not worried. That cast-on edge is the shorter edge that goes around the neck, not the longer edge around the shoulders.