Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Mother Nature Pays A Visit

So there we were having a nice lazy Sunday afternoon down in the cellar lounge. The dogs were outside, as were the cats apart from Elma the kitten. As she is not fully house trained yet it pays to keep an eye on her, as she has a habit of using the plant pots that we have brought in to survive over the winter. Just like a small child the time to worry is when she goes quiet, now she had been sat on the arm of Net's armchair but had hoped off. I hadn't heard her disappear up stairs, and I hadn't let her out, so she had to still be in the cellar. Sure enough when I turned round there she was eyeing up one of the big pot plants, but the palm frond was moving. Thinking that it was probably nothing more than a Praying Mantis that she had found I went to investigate. I got there in time to see a Snake's tail moving onto the next plant pot. As Net has a bit of a phobia about Snakes I suggested that she might wish to leave the cellar, but I didn't actually tell her why. In hindsight that might not have been a wise choice, because instead of catching the Snake I then had to explain what Elma and I had seen. Luckily it was only what the locals refer to as a Smok, so is totally harmless, and only about a foot and a half long. In so doing the Snake had disappeared in the corner of the room where the water meter is, which I had boxed in last year.

So with Net sat on the stairs directing proceedings Elma and I started to search the room for Hissing Sidney. As the water meter area was the last place that I had seen the Snake, I thought that the search had best start there. I carefully lifted the lid off of the box section, with Elma watching with great interest, to reveal nothing. That meant that there was a possibility that Sidney had either gone behind my CDs or behind the bookcase. So a good deal of poking and prodding about went on, before CDs and books came off of the shelves, and still no sign of the hisser. The water meter pit has never been properly finished and had a sand base, with a rough edge from where the cement screed floor was laid. So it was possible that it had disappeared under the floor. I did also find some holes between the stones in the wall where it also might have gone behind the CDs and books. Each time that one of the cats came in they were picked up and placed beside the water meter box. None of them showed the slightest bit of interest.

I decided that the cats could spend the night patrolling the cellar lounge, instead of their usual place in the upstairs lounge. My thinking being that maybe the snake would seek the warmth of the fire as the temperature dropped, the cats would then spot it and capture it. It sounded like a better idea than me waiting up all night with a torch. I even explained all of this to the cats when I got them in that evening, except for Mini Mog who refused to come in. So when we went up to bed there was SillyO in Net's armchair, Mr Cat on the settee and Albert and Elma curled up on the chair at the computer desk. Unfortunately when we woke up there were four cats happily camped on our bed. It was suggested that they should be placed on short rations for dereliction of duty.

I had to check the cellar for before Net would venture down there first thing in the morning. The cats hadn't left us any presents, but on the bright side they hadn't used the sand at the water meter box as a litter tray either. I moved the furniture about again and still no sign of Sidney. Unfortunately we had promised Yolanta that we would pick her up from the garage in Gorna where her car was having a winter service done, so my snake hunting activities would have to wait until we returned. On our return one again I was first down into the cellar, and still no sign of the slithery little whatnot. So the thought that it was under the floor somewhere seemed like quite a good call.

So this morning all of the furniture was moved, up ended, shook and anything else that we could think of. The CD shelves were moved away from the wall, books were taken off of shelves, and everywhere was once again thoroughly checked, including the plant pots. Still nothing, the only thing left to do was sort out the water  meter area. First I had to remove the sand, and get a good firm base. I didn't have any sand and cement left, so I mixed up my remaining tile adhesive. It seems to have done the trick, and the water meter area does look tidier. I have also filled the holes that I have found between the stones of the wall. Hopefully Sidney was in the wall and he can make his way outside, if not he is under the floor and there he shall stay. The cats have been down here this evening and once again have shown no interest in anything, apart from finding somewhere comfortable to curl up and go to sleep.

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