Pyromania and rats who have now nested below the Yemaya house

Where there are hens there are rats and wow quite a lot been frolicking in the hen coop and trying to burrow in at night to get hen food – not helped by the fact that i live on the wonderful Edinburgh goods railway line which we have always loved- – we race to watch trains pass the end of the garden wall and have done all the 37 years have lived here –  or is it 35… but embankment is obviously popular home for rats to nest in too.

Over the years i have lopped bits of trees off  on embankment which overshadow garden and also thrown brush over from other trees etc and this built up as high as wall  which meant easy access for rats who kind of frolick over and then jump in compst heaps which since hens arrived i have had to slowly empty… . Called in rat catcher enviromental services but difficult to put  down poison with hens and neighbours cats. Phoned Network Rail a few weeks back and they promised to ‘action’ rats and clear brush etc from embankment  wall but clear after several follow up calls to find out when, given number of rats running around at 4pm in the afternoon (only when it is sunny they never appeared when it was raining), which meant garden no go area for any children really  – so  that 20 days to ‘action’ might mean still long time to do anything, as not a priority, and rats expected  on train embankments …

so serendipitously yestrrday as i decided to take matters into my own hands and burn the brush (safely…) round comes my lovely Glasgow filmaker mate Barbara, an allotment woman and familiar with bonfires… we devised a way to drop petrol soaked rags held tightly in safe containers  inside bags into the holes we dug in brush and lit them and they burnt well with us controlling flames so they did not go too mad with long garden hose – it was such fun- how i love fire !! – Barbara too-  the hens largely ignored it getting under our feet all the time! the rats suddenly appeared running over wall and back when it got very hot – not uure if they have moved on or if so how far but no evidence last night of them trying to burrow into coop to steal hen food which they have been doing each night (it gets moved into shed but they have still been trying to get in and may indeed get in as bits of slate and brick under wire do not seem to deter them). Anyway we did not let fire really go fully so there are still large pieces of wood that could burn but the height of wood brush behind wall is down to about half way up and mostly ashes on top of wood so  great success.

Exhausting but worth it. Barbara and  i celebrated with tea and welsh cakes  in the  Yemaya hosue, mugs of tea out of new mugs brought back from Chile last week by friend guitarist Galo who has just spent 6 months there with his  father José Ceron in Antofaghasta – where José  has been recuperating  from being very ill – he  sent me present of white mugs with faces of Presdent  Salvador Allende and CP heroine Gladys Marin – the tea  tasted delicious  out of them!   Thanks Barbara for entering fully 100% into the pyromaniac ‘kill some rats if you can or at at least move them on’  spirit- pictures posted on Facebook!

STOP PRESS
Cheeky rats have merely re-located to undernetht ny garden hut known as the Yemaya Hosse- they brazenly come out and charge around still – even when friend Malcolm came last night to put down somedown rat poison- let’s hope they eat it! they watched him!  –

AND guess what the man from Network Rail came yesterday – must have been tipped of about the fire? thankfully he came a day after the fire… he noticed there had been one and was  a bit perturbed but my neighbour assured him it had been well controlled with water hose… – he is promising to put down rat poison on the embankment and Edinburgh Council envirnomental  services  will come friday morning  to put their special strong poison down under the hut… hoping a many pronged rat attack may work …and that it will not affect the hens or any cats in the vicinity… argh!

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About Jan Fairley

I am an experienced and passionate ethnomusicologist working as an arts and music journalist and broadcaster, writer and editor as well as researcher, lecturer, radio presenter and producer. I have a breadth of organising experience at home and abroad. I am a fluent Spanish speaker. I love travelling and have worked abroad (notably Chile 1971-3 and again in 1994) and researched in Cuba, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Finland.
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