Friday, 24 June 2016

MAN UP! ...

... in the attic.

Last night The Old Girl drew my attention to some scuttling sounds up in the roof space. "Rats" she said. "Rats" to you too I said and went back to reading my book - Fatherland by Robert Harris.

"You'll have to sort that out" she said.

"I'll hold the ladder for you" I said but knew that I wouldn't win this one.

"That's your job matey" she said so I got the extendable ladder out, found a couple of torches that worked and proceeded to take out all of the shelves in a cupboard at the rear of the house. This double door cupboard - 'Narnia' I call it, provides the access to a kind of chute that goes up along a chimney into the roof space. I removed the cupboard's false ceiling and looked up. The space has always been narrow but since we had the house insulated with white polar bear type fluffy stuff it is even more narrow.

It's also a long way up as we have high ceilings.

The ladder can only go so far as it can't be fully extended and still allow room for climbing up. What I have to do is stand at the top of the ladder and reach up to find a joist or something to drag myself up. There aren't any footholds so it's a case of using arm strength and bracing my back against a wall.

When I get the HRV service people in to change the filters in the two HRV units we have in the roof-space I have to ask for the smallest (and most agile person).

I reached the top and looked about at a sea of white. It's a large house so the roof-space area is vast. The height in parts is high enough to stand but because there is no floor, only joists that are covered by the insulation, it is a bit too dangerous to wander about. God knows how the HRV people manage.

I shined both torches around (one for spare just in case) and sure enough spied some tell-tale rat droppings. Little bastards. I guess it's to be expected in winter in an old house in the country.
I shimmied my way down again and headed off the Mitre 10 to buy some industrial strength rat bait. The cat can't get up there so I asked for the strongest stuff they had which I've positioned up there in 3 containers. I'll have to check each day over the next week to see if it's being eaten.

Tomorrow I'll check under the house and all around to see if I can spot how Mr Rat got up there although I read that they can squeeze through gaps of a couple of centimetres.

If the rat bait doesn't work I could try one of these:

But If I'm resorting to that I may as well go the full hog and use music from one of these.

Monday, 20 June 2016


The Old Girl has been in Australia for a couple of weeks helping the 'sister' office out with a project.
While there they offered her a job, permanent which would basically mean until she decides to retire (3 to 4 years).
On the weekend we discussed it and agreed that she would take the job.
The reasons were less to do with remuneration - the pay would be the same albeit in Australian dollars and they would add in an extra $10k in superannuation. All other staff benefits would be the same as present (life insurance, salary protection insurance etc) - the main attraction would be a more challenging role and the chance of another 'adventure' for us.

The downside would be yet another move with all of the attendant hassles. Her employer would pick up the cost of travel for both of us, transportation of furniture and belongings, initial accomodation for the first month or so and other bits and pieces.

The move would require once again leaving the Northland house and the Auckland apartment and me giving up my job (if I couldn't do it from Australia like I did when we went to UK). We decided to sell the apartment so that the lack of mortgage outgoings would compensate for any loss of my earnings and to look for caretakers for the house rather that rent it out. That way we could leave all our stuff in it and not run the risk of having bad tenants. We decided to make up a list from friends and family first to see if anyone would want to live here rent-free for 3 or 4 years before going to one of those house-sitter websites.

That was the plan as of yesterday before The Old Girl went back to Auckland on the bus.

This morning she had a change of mind. The hassles of the move including arranging to take our cat with us (she's 16 years plus) were just too daunting so she turned the job offer down.

I'm in two minds about this.
Firstly I'm glad so as to not go through another major move, stress out the cat and leave our house and possessions maybe in the hands of strangers. There would be no guarantee of employment either which is a risk.
On the other hand it would have been an interesting few years. I like Australia, especially Adelaide where the job is based.

So, business as usual.

Friday, 17 June 2016


.... sorry about the title. On re-reading it it seems a bit scatological.

What I refer to is the fact that Richard (of RBB) over the last few years has been very caring and considerate to his elderly aunt, visiting her, taking her out on jaunts and bringing her to his home for dinners and special occasions. It is very admirable.

Now I'm not good with elderly people and children. I never know what they eat, want to do, what to say to them etc. To me they're scary.

The Old Girl arrived back in Auckland from Adelaide yesterday where she'd been working for a couple of weeks. She's flying up here today and bringing her elderly (mid 80s) aunt with her for a visit.
That's fine I like aunty Alison (name left the same to avoid confusion). She's been here before several times and likes it. There's plenty of room for her and the weather is still nice although getting cooler. I'll light the wood burner at the end of the house where she will be staying and keep it going while she's here.

That's all good,

The thing is though that the Old Girl will be going back to Auckland on Sunday and leaving her aunty Alison here..




I'll have to make sure that I have the fridge and pantry stocked as to be honest I'm a bit casual in that regard.
I'll have to keep the house tidy.
I'll have to keep an eye on how many bottles of wine I open although Alison does imbibe thank god. She likes Pinot gris I think like the Old Girl and drinks vodka and lemonade. Yes, Richard lemonade although this is with vodka not mixed in with Chateau Margaux.

The Old Girl better get up here each weekend. That's all I'm saying.