A Thief in the Night

We live in an old house. The type of home that real estate agents would describe as “emanating character” and “oozing personality” – both euphemisms for extensive brown dado panelling and seas of green carpets. And despite having to embrace floor-to-ceiling mustard-yellow curtains and a kitchen styled with more brown than surely would ever be considered in vogue, living in an older house suits our family.

Perks abound when living in our old home. Cooking dinner every night on a piece of history – a gigantic solid St George cooker that’s been pumping out roast dinners since the 50’s.   Childhood games flourish, and even a spot of breakdancing from time-to-time, in a home that isn’t precious about wall damage – dado panelling does have its advantages after all. Wayward embers from the wood fire sometimes mark the antiquated green carpets, their presence reminding us of our cosy winters spent by the hearth. Our home doesn’t look the least bit enticing to would-be-thieves – in fact, the exterior of our house is the perfect example of why you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. And if you’ve ever considered a brown palette for your next kitchen upgrade, I can speak first-hand about how exceptionally well chestnut, cinnamon, sepia and ecru hide the fact that you’re on a limited cleaning schedule.

Rats. Now that’s a down side of living in an old house – coupled with an overgrown vacant property next door – though thankfully they politely keep their ratty business confined to the roof cavity, leaving us with complete privacy inside our home. We’ve made good friends with our local rodent exterminator, who we tend to invite around for a cuppa each year. Just as we do with our local drain plumber, thanks to a conspiracy between crumbling sewerage pipes and knotted tree roots to create the most unpleasant of dams – yet another quirky feature of old-house living.

But the other night, as the last of my Easter chocolate stash called out to me, I made a shocking, and slightly sickening discovery. Something to make me question why we have chosen to live in such an old house.

My Lindt chocolate bunny, safely hidden from the prying eyes of children (and husband) in the top of my wardrobe, was clearly not safe from the prying paws and teeth of a little mousey visitor. A visitor who had audaciously breached the official boundary of their space versus our space. Of course the Lindt bunny must have been horrified by the large gaping hole in its rump, but I was equally horrified by the imaginable adventures the stealthy rodent had as he coursed through my finery to reach the delectable jackpot.

And boy, what travels he had! My husband and I emptied out my entire wardrobe, and then proceeded to clean, clear and cleanse. His tiny signature “marks” showed him to be quite the little tourist. But they also told us that, before feasting on my cherished Lindt chocolate, he had first dined on the offerings of our friendly exterminator. So we know he won’t be back, but what did he tell his little furry friends before the curtains closed?

Either way, Operation Fill-All-Gaps is now in force, as is Operation Only-Hide-Chocolate-In-Airtight-Containers-From-Now-On. We may have lost this battle, but we can still win the war.


(original post published 28th April 2015)

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