Village Life in the 1980s and 90s
Lynn and Richard admit to a few problems with rats:
"We’d heard them in the roof quite often but we started to hear them scratching in the unit (in the kitchen). There was a hole in one of them where a rat had chewed to get out. Richard heard it one night scratching and came down to investigate. He opened the cupboard door and the rat ran out straight under the dishwasher, so we knew we had a problem. Then last year one got trapped in the house. We had found where it had come in and blocked the hole with wire but it couldn’t get out then and Richard had to shoot it - at three o’clock in the morning. It had chewed through the pipe to the new washing machine we’d installed, and the insurance company wouldn’t pay for damage by rats."
Richard decided something had to be done to stop them coming into the roof. Poison was not an option because it is not always possible to find where they have died and the smell as they decompose is not an easy one to live with! He decided to shoot them. This year he has shot over fifty in the garden. Feeding the birds attracts them but there are so many beautiful ones that Lynn refuses to stop feeding them. The rats can be seen under the bird table and round the well in the corner of the garden. "We had tried humane traps but they avoided those. The only thing which got trapped in those were birds", Lynn explained.
There are fortunately more acceptable forms of wild life: larks in the field at the back of the houses, hares, deer of various kinds, muntjac, roe and fallow deer. "The other day there was a sparrow hawk sitting on the gate. They pluck their victims before eating them, which is how you know there’s been a sparrow hawk around," said Lynn.
All four families make a substantial contribution to village life, supporting the church, the village room and having played a major role in producing the Parish Plan in 2009.
Mo and Keith too have done extensive alterations to their cottage. They described what they had done:
"We stripped out the rendering on the walls back to the stone, the beams and the ingle nook fireplace. This made the cottage more old-world and characterful. We installed liquid gas heating at first but this was very expensive so we now have a large wood-burning stove which heats the hot water and runs the central heating. We are very pleased with it."
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