A Busy Time

It’s been a busy time for the Wintles!

We’ve had numerous busy weekends, in Devon with my in-laws, on a Tour of the North (Leeds, Durham, and then back home via Cambridge and London), and we’ll be in London this coming weekend too. So we’ve not been at home much. Weekday evenings have been busy as well.

Here’s what’s been going on:

Getting rid of the rats

We finally think we’ve tackled the rat problem. A while ago the man from the council came out again with his boss – the head of Pest Control – for a second opinion. He worked out that the rats were probably getting in from the old “Stink Pipe”. The vent connected to the sewer. This isn’t used as a vent any more, as a new pipe had been put on the side of the house, but the it hasn’t been blocked up. This gives the rats a free run from the sewer up the wall cavity to our loft.

So, we hacked a hole in the side of the old back wall (which has been knocked through into the extension) and shoved a load of chicken wire into the cavity. I’m sure that we have heard the odd scratching since, but there’s very little sign of rat activity anywhere and this has been the case for a while now.

Problem is that rats have now started to take refuge in our compost bin.


In the mean time the last one to die has stopped smelling and we now have a plague of flies again. Hopefully out last!


We’ve also been having furniture fun. Try to follow this.

We’re borrowing some furniture from my sister, who is waiting to sell a house so that she can buy a house. When she moves in to the new, bigger house we can give her “loaned” furniture back. At that point we’ll need basically a whole bedroom suite, including a bed and wardrobes. We’d also promised a sofa to a friend of ours in Bristol. So whenever we were going to go to Ikea (in Bristol) to buy the bedroom furniture, we were going to hire a van and take the sofa on the same trip.

However, we found the ideal piece of furniture to replace the sofa in a sale. So we bought that and had to expedite the sofa-taking trip. As we had the van we figured we may as well pop to Ikea as well.

Now, our last experience of Ikea was not good. I mean NOT good. It was horrible and we got only about half of what we went for. So we were psyching ourselves up for this trip.

It turned out not so bad and we got about a 90% hit rate. Unfortunately this meant that the two main bits of furniture (bed and wardrobe) were incomplete. We had a head- and foot-board for the bed but no sides, and the wardrobe lacks some drawer fronts.

So on our trip round the country we stopped off at Ikea Leeds to pick up some bed sides (which were crammed into the car next to a gracious Sally for several hundred miles), but the drawer fronts aren’t due in the country at all for about 6 weeks.

What we have learned along the way is that Ikea’s phone service is pretty good. You can do automated stock checks and, if something’s out of stock, you can get the store to text you when it comes back in stock! Rather clever really.