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Spanish Shilling

Some stories and experiences after a lifetime spent in Spain

Dere's a Rat in Me Kitchen
Monday, March 4, 2024 @ 11:16 AM

There’s a major bookshop in our local city, and I’ve dropped by there a few times – either to buy a novel in Spanish (which I can read, if sometimes a bit slowly), or one in English from their foreign-language nook downstairs. Three or four shelves in English, plus a few books scattered in there in German – hey, it’s all foreign, right?

The spines on Spanish books are always printed upside-down which means that the usual book-stocker employee, unaware that this peculiar custom has yet to emigrate beyond the Pyrenees, will put the English (and German) books on the shelf the wrong-side-up so as to match the other shelves upstairs. Then along comes a Brit and pulls a few out to scope the back-cover and before you know it, the foreign books are higgledy-piggledy, which means, when I come along for a spot of browsing, I have to throw my head from one side to the other, wrenching my neck, to glom the offers on display.

At twelve euros a pop or maybe more, they ain’t cheap, neither.

So, in the Brit community fifty miles to the north, there’s a few charity shops that sell books.

The Brits will volunteer to run these shops, collecting funds for some Noble Cause (dogs and cats, usually – they haven’t yet run to helping the Palestinians).

The charity shops work on stuff being brought around and kindly donated.

Often after a local funeral.

Books are considered as a filler, I suppose, as they are usually sold at six for a shilling. Which is fine by me. See the difference here? One book at twelve euros in the city, versus seventy two charity books in guiriville for the same price. I mean, if I get half-way through and decide that it’s tripe, then I’m down by fifteen cents.

So the other night, I am lying in bed in the place I’m looking after, a country-home. Nice, very quiet, lots of trees and birdies. Reading some rubbish about a pretty detective who rides a Ducati through the worst streets of Washington (I do love to travel), I was interrupted by a large rat galloping across the bed and disappearing under the wardrobe.

So the next day, I went to buy some poison. A box with a dozen blue cubes of some dreadful stuff that disagrees with rats and I leave one on the kitchen counter, and returned to my detective, now in bed with her lawyer.

The next day, the poison had gone. But, you know, judging by some evidence in the fruit bowl, the rat hadn’t.

Or maybe there were two rats. I put another cube out.

The following day, the second cube had gone, but someone had got into the rice crispies.

I put out a third cube, put everything edible in a steel case with a combination lock, and returned to my pile of books.

And so, Best Beloved, every day and until the box was empty, the daily poison has been taken away from its place in the kitchen. Seems I either had a very strong rat on my hands, or I was doing the Devil’s Work and killing the babies living in some hitherto undiscovered hole.

I found one possible lair under the wardrobe and wedged the detective and her motorbike in it. It was about time she did something useful.

Today, a friend gave me a humane rat-trap. You leave a chunk of cheese within, the trapdoor goes *clunk* and you take him outside and toss him out in the campo a few kilometres from home. That’s the theory, anyhow.

I also bought a box of strychnine this morning, just in case

Like 3


lesleyfb said:
Monday, March 11, 2024 @ 2:22 PM

Oh no. I wouldn't have been able to go to sleep knowing a rat was in the room. If I did fall asleep I bet I'd have ratty nightmares!

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