I’m talking, of course, about Rattus norvegicus, also affectionately known as Roland ‘Shovel Head’ Rat.
‘Twas the summer of 2008 and I was kept prisoner in my own home by Roland and his rodent posse. I had lived in my house for 20 years, rat-free, until that summer invasion but my garden suddenly became infested.
The first time I saw them I was naively relaxing on the decking with a cheeky glass of Chardonnay and a bag of Kettle Chips. As I sat chatting to my Dad, the bin liner on the patio began moving. The bag wasn’t full of food rubbish, just some old papers, and so I figured it was the wind. And then it moved again. I started to get a little nervous and tucked my legs under me on the chair.
When it moved for the third time, I climbed up onto the table – all 5ft 9”, ‘whole lotta junk in my trunk’ me.
That first visitor now resides under our new garden shed.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m far from sadistic by nature but I have to say, I was on a mission to destroy them all. DESTROY THEM ALL I SAY! Ahem … I asked the council to come round but even they couldn’t set enough traps for the amount of rats we had. I spent hours at my local hardware store finding the right traps and poison and it cost a bloody fortune! I was beyond asking if there was a humane way to eradicate my ‘vermin issue.’ I had barely stepped foot in the garden all summer and I missed my wisteria! They had to go.
A few jars of peanut butter and buckets of concrete later, they were gone. It took me months before I ventured out there again and even now, if the wind rustles the bushes I’m convinced they’re back to seek revenge on me.
All is quiet though. For now.