Summoning what cheerful cockney spirit I could muster and with my old dressing gown wrapped about me to keep out the cold I paused briefly to add the final touch of a pair of bicycle clips, that just happened to be handy, to the bottoms of my pyjamas. We're very chic in France even in a crisis
Why I felt the need to creep up the stairs to the grenier which runs the full length of the house I can't really explain but I crept. And why I used a torch instead of putting the lights on is another unfathomable. I pushed up the trapdoor and not so tiny feet scampered everywhere and the smell that hit me I'm far too polite a blogger to describe but it certainly made my eyes water. Just look at the hole the critters have gnawed in the big oak door. Does nothing hold them back?
What's more turds everywhere. This is where I turn to the naturalists amongst you for help with identification of the culprits. The smart money's on rats. I think the recent cold spell may have driven them in off the fields around the house. Discretion being the better part of valour I beat a hasty retreat downstairs to regroup or whatever lone operators do in such circumstances.
Morning finally dawns only to reveal the full extent of the damage. All my clothes (which had been temporarily stored upstairs during David's illness to allow more room for hospital type equipment and a continuous stream of medical personnel to move about freely) have been contaminated, not to mention bedding, towels, soft furnishings and, of course, the beds themselves. It must have been like Gremlins at the cinema. But worst of all the rotten little gits have been in my Long Dog stock which will now all need to be replaced. Those whom the gods wish to destroy they must first send mad - this quotation now begins to make sense.
Enough about "crottes" as we call them, there's even a goats cheese of the same name over here and you'd immediately know why should you ever come across one. How do you think my orchids are looking and can you spot the fake one I slipped in for a joke? It's the spotty one on the far right.
The rat catcher cometh - Monday afternoon to be precise so stay tuned.