SO at last I have a replacement Bas. The poor old Corsa is still sitting outside getting rustier and rustier as the insurance company dally over how much my heartache and inconvenience is worth. Meanwhile, Mrs Rippers was just getting a teensy bit fed up with being sans car because of my regular journeys up to the smoke in her little Micra Millie.
To be fair Millie has been a stalwart through all this, taking the regular 400-mile round trips in her stride, and she has learnt a few tricks into the bargain, like how to reach the devastating speed of 85 on the motorway (I don't think my good lady wife was as impressed as I was when I told her of her Micra's new achievement). Mind you, it was just a tad frustrating to go from 0-85 in 90 minutes.
Passing a car showroom the other day I spotted a little blue Renault Clio sitting outside the dealership with a price tag of £1,695. I was sold the moment I spotted it and when the salesman agreed to a cash price of £1,500 and threw in a free MOT I must say I was pretty delighted with my purchase. The car may have done 86,000 miles but, unlike Bas, it has power steering and electric windows, a stereo which doesn't sound like its playing the latest death metal album when the volume sneaks over half way (even if the disc in question is puppy love by Donny Osmond - NOT that you would ever hear that in a car of mine) and locks with the press of a button on the key ring. That is something I'll have to remember having on numerous occasions unlocked the doors, then bent down, put the key in the lock, and locked them again. Doh!
The car does have a few little foibles inevitably. I am still trying to master the stereo and on occasion it seems to refuse to play, but I guess it is getting a bit temperamental in its old age. Think I might call it Ramsey after the TV chef of the same name.
Talking of TV chefs, I am now booked onto a one-day cookery course in a picturesque farmhouse in a place called Tea Green in Hertfordshire. The venue is owned by one Jean Christophe Novelli and the course was a 50th birthday present from my good lady wife, one of those experience days presents you can now buy.
I must admit when I first saw the envelope I envisaged having my world turned upside down and my bank accounts frozen, running for my life, nearly drowning in a submerged car and ending up jumping from the roof of a tall building. Then I remembered that was the plot of a Michael Douglas film, The Game, and that surely Mrs R wasn't going to put me through that kind of hell.
In fact, it is a novel idea (see what I did there) where you present a loved one with the chance to experience something they have never done before. In my case I am spending a day learning how to prepare and cook fish dishes together with their accompanying stocks and sauces. It sounds like it could be a fun day out and no doubt any recipes I learn will make their way onto here at some stage.
Ridsdale update. I am now sick to death of this rat, and he is reducing my poor pregnant wife to tears (mind you, that isn't too hard, these days, as previous entries on this blog will show).
I did notice that Rentokil managed to leave a comment on here after one of my first entries about Ridsdale. Well, they have been three times now and my kitchen has so much bait lying around I am as likely to catch a Great White shark as a small black rat. We also have sheets covered in contact dust, and bait stations below the shower and beside one of the pipes upstairs.
The trouble is our rat isn't taking the bait.
Now, I don't know if he is some kind of Mastermind, but he certainly isn't falling for any of these tricks, though there is plenty of evidence he is still around. Not droppings, I grant you, but little wet smudges in the kitchen and pieces of masonry that suddenly appear in the middle of the kitchen floor when we have been out and come back. No scurrying that I've noticed but we didn't always here him before.
Unfortunately, our last visit from the Rentokil man will be next Wednesday when he will take the bait away with him and wave goodbye. He admits that he, and his colleagues, are baffled about the problem. They have been discussing Ridsdale and cannot work out what to do.
Which, I must say, having spent over £200 on their services, I am not really happy with. Rentokil, if you are listening: when you pay someone to do a job and yet the problem is still there when it is all over, shouldn't you be returning the money or at least be returning until the problem is finally sorted? What is it the lawyers say, no win, no fee?
I am sorry but I was told you were the absolute experts, and though you left a good plug on this blog about "a professional job" being done, I am struggling to see that's the case.
It seems you can't look in lofts, or climb onto roofs to find holes, or take up floorboards. You can put down bait. Well, I can put down bait. I can pay out on one of those rat zappers, or put down glue traps, or any manner of things. But the money I would have spent on that, I preferred to use getting out "the experts".
I'm sure you do a wonderful job in factories etc sorting out their infestations, but we are talking about one bloody clever rat here... If you haven't got a clue then give me back my dosh.