Bedtime, and rodents, and the life of an artist

It was very warm last night, so I left the back window open to get some air, then went to bed at the ludicrously early time of 1030. Shattered by my day, I went straight to sleep… And woke up at 330 in the morning. I struggled a bit then went back to sleep… And woke up at 530 in the morning, and then at 630, feeling knackered. So things didn’t go exactly as I had planned.

Perhaps more worryingly, it took me an hour and a half to get get up, get dressed and out of the house. That’s five minutes late for dropping La Serpiente off at school, so I need to get drastically more disciplined in the next few days.

Still, there’s plenty of time until the family returns. Time for me to do things like get the rat catcher round to clear any possible rodents out of the basement.

"Possible"? No, it’s a definite, as there’s a lovely hole in the front wall where any rat in need of shelter may come right in. Well, Rat Shangri-La is about to drop a bit on its TripAdvisor review score, as the traps are now in place and next week they come back to stop up the holes.

My pest control person, TJ, is a big chap who joined the Marines and saw an enormous whale off the coast of Singapore. He told me this after spotting the picture of the Horniman Walrus that I keep by the front door. So I’m glad we bonded over a love of large aquatic animals.

TJ almost drove off with the keys to the basement, which would have been a disaster as I haven’t got my shed yet, so when the children return I imagine my banjo practice will be relegated to the basement. I’m happy to say that by diligently watching YouTube tutorials and then practicing what they tell me, I am learning something.

I’m learning to play "Cripple Creek" which is a tune I’d never heard of before I got a banjo. Here is a link to somebody very happily playing it, much quicker than I can hope for. So far.

But if I look at how dreadful I was when I started playing, being able to do something doesn’t seem impossible, and the aesthetic of an artist in a rat infested basement is only slightly inferior to one starving in a garret.

And there’s not hordes of rats. Well, not as I can tell.

After the ratman had been, I rented a car and bought some firewood, 18 bottles of beer and two bottles of gin, some marshmallows and some fruit, and was then vaguely disappointed not to be asked for ID. I guess I really do look my age now.

I drove home and it rained, and I spent a bit of time tidying up and doing paperwork, which paid off (literally) when I discovered a cheque for $160.50 from when our mortgage closed and they realised the fee was too high. So, as with all windfalls, that goes to pay off a tiny fraction of the mortgage. I content myself by thinking how much I’m saving when it comes to the compound interest on that. (Not much, but better than nothing…)

Anyway, it’s now past bedtime, and I have just two sleeps until the family is reunited. And I still have to buy a chiminea too. The excitement never stops!

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