So blog post number one then… Where I grew up in this big old barn house in the south of France, me and my family were pretty used toÂ rats. It was an ongoing battle that became part of every day life, just like brushing your teeth or arguing with the neighbour. But one fateful year, back in 1995, they must have run out of contraceptives (the rats, not the neighbours). Suddenly, they were everywhere.
Everywhere. Youâ€™d call this a serious infestation. So we gathered all the rat poison we could find this side of the equator and planted it strategically around the garden and house, although now I would obviously call in a professional pest control company! I remember having to wade my way through all the dead rats in the back garden afterwards, just so I could get to my favourite stick to play with (I was still very little).
But it wasnâ€™t enough. I didnâ€™t personally witness the scene Iâ€™m about to describe, but apparently it went something like this:
That day, it was mumâ€™s turn to get up first, make the coffee and take it back up to dad. Just a normal day. I can imagine my dad, half asleep in bed, enjoying a peaceful lie-in and looking forward to a strong black coffee to start the day. Anyway, he must have heard some commotion downstairs, but it was only when he heard the sound of smashing tiles that he ran down to see what was going on.
He burst through the kitchen door to see my mum holding a broom above her head, and then smashing it down on the brand-new tiled floor – only narrowly missing the rat she was aiming for.
Naturally, this didnâ€™t end well for the tiles or the broom. Or the rat…Â eventually.