P. hurries the children out the front door for the five-minute walk to school. They’re running late. The door closes and I breathe a sigh of relief, half-heartedly clear up a few breakfast crumbs and put the Dora DVD back into its box. [I lied to my children yesterday evening — I told them that the new Dora DVD from Grandma only has an English soundtrack. In fact, they could watch it in Greek or Portuguese or, more importantly for them, two different versions of French if they (i.e. I) liked). The lie is for their own linguistic good.]
I saunter upstairs and into the bathroom. While I’m brushing my teeth, I hear an insistent rustling noise coming from ... I’m not quite sure where. It gets louder and louder. I open the windows and listen, is it coming from the garden ? No, it’s definitely inside the house. The rustling continues and there seems to be some discreet bumping too. I tiptoe towards our bedroom and the noise gets louder: it’s definitely coming from in there and it’s definitely rodents. I peek in the door from a safe distance but see no signs of movement, no long tails poking out from under the bed.
I’m now terrified. Oh what a panic's in my breastie. I dash downstairs. How am I going to get my things out of a bedroom obviously under siege by several large families of mice or maybe even r……, no, no, no, no, no.
P. is taking ages. He strolls in with a baguette and the Sud Ouest newspaper under his arm. « I think you should take a look upstairs, there seems to be a strange noise coming from our bedroom » I say casually, inwardly shrieking « Help, help, help, we need the pest control people, immediately »
P. goes upstairs, sees nothing in the bedroom, opens the door that leads up to the attic and finds a helpless little house martin* lying exhausted at the bottom of the stairs.
He takes off like a jet fighter when P. opens the window and holds him out in the fresh May air.
* or maybe it was a swallow, or a swift.