On the one hand we have environmentalists telling us we shouldn’t flush the loo as often as we do. If that offends our delicate sensibilities then we should at the very least use the button on the toilet cistern that uses less water. We need to save water. Fair enough!
On the other hand we have the latest scare-mongers warning us about rats - yes, rats! nasty, dirty creatures! - coming up from the sewers, climbing through the pipes and emerging into our toilet bowls! Nasty, dirty, deviously clever creatures! Keep the lid closed! At my most paranoid about such an idea, I want to flush the toilet at its top water volume before I lift the lid, in the hope of flushing away any such rodent intruder. At my least paranoid I remind myself that reports say this is happening mostly in office blocks that have been closed during the lockdown and have been invaded by rats, coming in … yes, that’s right … via the toilets! But we’re keeping the lid down just to be on the safe side! Mind you, the lid of our loo is a rather flimsy plastic affair which I am pretty sure a determined rat could knock for six by jumping at it! So I’m trying to forget about the very idea … except for when I get up to go the loo in the middle of the night. That’s how nightmares are generated!
I’m in two minds about telling my oldest granddaughter about this rat scare. She has pet rats, animals she has no qualms about holding, stroking, allowing to climb up her arm and sit on her shoulder or even on top of her head. Personally, I don’t want them anywhere near me and have offended her by saying they are smelly creatures. However, wild rats, outdoor vermin, are a different kettle of fish (cage of rodents?) altogether. When we were tidying up her garden, removing tangles of brambles and nettles and rampant dandelions, she became more than a little nervous when we came face to face with a rat in the undergrowth. He was more scared of us though and scuttled off. We proceeded with caution in case he had a nest there.
Despite her willingness to handle her pet rats, to feed (defrosted) frozen baby mice to her snake and assorted live insects to her bearded dragon, my granddaughter has a close to pathological fear of spiders. I have known her to go into panic mode in the middle of a phone conversation with me because a large spider, or even at times a small spider, has suddenly emerged from somewhere. She has refused to go into the living room or the bedroom or wherever there happens to be a free-roaming spider. If possible her response is to crush them, or better, to get her housemate to crush them. Me, I catch them in the time-honoured manner: to wit, trap the spider under a glass, slide a card underneath, carry outside and release the spider as far from the house as possible to prevent immediate return. The most recent one did, I confess, rather make us jump as he, or she, walked bold as brass on legs a good inch long across the rug as we sat watching television! But we managed to catch the cheeky intruder.
Rats would be a different matter! Once, in our now rather distant childhood, we spotted a mouse running across the kitchen floor. My older sister had her tennis racket in her hand and, quick as flash, brought the racket down on the little rodent. It seemed to be squashed flat. We all exclaimed in horror. My sister lifted the racket and the little mouse returned to its proper shape and scuttled off, away put of the back door. We decided / hoped he was just a field mouse!
Getting back to the environmentalists, a new set of earbuds has just been delivered for Phil. His old ones had given up the ghost, frayed wires preventing continued use. I swear he only ordered them yesterday or the day before but Amazon delivered them today. The earbuds come in a small plastic container, about 8 inches by 1.5 inches. They were delivered in an A3 sized cardboard envelope. On the reverse of the envelope it says:
Less Packaging, More Smiles
This mailer fits your order better than a box and uses less paper to do it.
Really! Who are they kidding? Surely they have smaller cardboard envelopes!
Also in the post was a communication for me from the Bridgewater Hall, the Manchester concert venue. It turned out to be a leaflet all about live music being back - hurrah! - and giving details of their programme for the next couple of months. It’s years since I had tickets sent to my home address from the Bridgewater Hall. They must have sent a leaflet to every address on their database. Maybe we’ll go to a concert again at last.
One concert we won’t go to is Cliff Richard on October 11th, postponed from October 6th last year. It’s sold out! Not that we wanted to go anyway. But he’s still performing! And clearly still popular. I was a fan when I was about 14, back when Cliff was the British Elvis, but we’ve both moved on since then. I just checked on Wikipedia: he was born on October 14th 1940. So the Bridgewater Hall concert is just before his 81st birthday. Does he need the money? Is he so addicted to applause that he can’t stop? Does singing and dancing keep you young? (Probably yes to the last one.) And importantly, is my older sister, the bi-i-i-ig Cliff fan of the family, going to the concert?
Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!
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