Roly saves the day

We don’t get much excitement in the Wolfe/Woodward household, and that is just how we like it. We don’t even have the TV to distract us these days, since a new satellite was launched recently and the UK TV beam was narrowed to omit southern Spain. We keep up to date with The Times online and BBC Radio 4, and I manage to record The Good Wife and get a daily dose of The Archers to keep the media withdrawal symptoms at bay.

I’d like to explain the hierarchy amongst our animals.


Sheba (cat), although extremely affectionate with humans, can be a nasty piece of work towards Roly (dog) and will often bat him around the head for absolutely no reason whatsoever, and Roly shows considerable deference to her inside the house, although when they are outside they seem to be on more equal terms.


Meanwhile Roly thinks he has been put on this earth in order to dominate Liana (horse). If ever the horse is showing any sign of bad manners, Roly barks like mad, snaps at her heels and even jumps up to try to bite her nose. I have to say that Liana totally ignores the dog, unless he is bossing her around inside her stable, at which point she lowers her head and moves towards him, whereby Roly very swiftly removes himself from the vicinity.


So back to this evening – I was busy in the kitchen whilst David was reading on his ipad when suddenly the alarm was raised, and all hands (and feet and teeth in Roly’s case) were required to get the situation under control. The cry was ‘she’s got a rat, and I think it’s alive’. Now cat flaps are very convenient accessories in homes where cats, and in our case, dogs reside. Roly being a small terrier is just able to squeeze through the flap. But they are not so convenient when your cat is a champion hunter. My beautiful princess pussycat is back in full warrior mode after spending the winter hibernating on our bed or on her favourite cushion. I woke up last night to the sound of crunching bones outside my bedroom door, and it is always wise to put on my shoes to visit the loo in the middle of the night, just in case she has left us a present in the hallway, although I have to say she usually leaves no trace of her victims.

My immediate reaction on hearing the alarm was to swap my flimsy sandals for my stable boots – I wasn’t planning on ratty running over my bare toes! Then I grabbed a few tools (although I have to admit, not very useful ones, but those closest to hand) a colander, a metal basket and a fly swat, and then I joined David, Roly and Sheba in the hallway and quickly closed the bedroom door to keep our unwanted visitor out.

After moving everything that could trip us up in hand-to-paw combat, David pulled out the bureau that ratty was hiding behind whilst I stood at the ready with my fly swat and colander. He popped up from behind the bureau and then disappeared again. When it was moved sufficiently for Roly and Sheba to get in behind, ratty made a break for it, headed to the lounge and dived under the sofa. I systematically moved all the plants out of the way and David pulled the sofa away from the wall.

There followed a short but frenetic period when ratty darted to and fro along the back wall whilst I made a few girly noises when it came anywhere near me and my fly swat. Sheba was about as much use as an ashtray on a motorbike, whilst Roly was charging up and down after the (not so) little blighter and finally made contact in mid-air, amongst much squealing (from ratty). A quick shake of the head ensued, after which Roly charged across the room with ratty clenched firmly (and by now rather limply) between his teeth and he and ratty flew through the cat flap and out into the garden.

So for once Roly reigned supreme and left Sheba in his wake. But I don’t suppose either of them will remember that in the morning when Roly will go back to giving Sheba a wide berth just in case she feels like swatting him.

Who needs TV when our animals provide such quality entertainment for us?

About magwood

Trepidatious Traveller - camino blog is about preparing for and walking the Camino de Santiago. Many future pilgrims have found the blog useful and inspiring, and many who have no plans to walk the camino have simply enjoyed the dialogue
This entry was posted in A view of life, Animals, Expats in andalucia and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Roly saves the day

  1. annieh61 says:

    Shudder! Roly rules (today). We have two very ancient cats and a large and soppy dog but they are so in charge.
    I’m watching The Good Wife whilst hand piecing a quilt (after a good walk of course- well mostly).
    We belong to a book club (pub based) where the starting time was adjusted to accommodate listening to The Archers first.
    Love the snippets of your Andalucian life.


    • magwood says:

      Hi Annie, I have to say we are not really missing the TV that much – we went without for three years a few years back with no ill-effects. But I would hate to miss The Good Wife – my absolute favourite programme. It is rather frustrating watching it via film-on because the buffering is so bad and the internet connection keeps dropping out – but I persevere and it is worth all the pain.

      A minor inconvenience amongst all the advantages of living here in Spain!


  2. I remember the ratting sessions on the farm at home as a kid, when the very last bales were taken out of the barns at the end of every season. The dogs would all be quivering with excitement and fearless of the bites they’d inevitably sustain as dozens of rats panicked and made a bid for freedom out of the straw. There would be barking and squealing and yelling and screams of excitement! And we all made sure we were wearing wellies – no-one wanted to risk a rat making a bid for safety up flapping dungaree trousers!


    • magwood says:

      You have conjured up a very strong image there. I imagine there may have been a bit more than squealing going on if ratty had got anywhere near my trouser leg!


  3. Donna says:

    I used to work at a racetrack and will never forget reaching down to pick up what I thought was a black mutton someone had dropped. And then it quivered and moved. Eww www double www. Someone thankfully came and used a muck fork to take it away.



    • magwood says:

      I was about to ask what is a ‘black mutton’ – I even looked it up on google (there are some recipes!) thanks for the clarification, but I think I prefer the original version.


  4. Donna says:

    Stupid autocorrect. I mean mitton.



  5. Marianne says:

    Hahaha … it’s strange how hierarchies work out – not as one might expect, that’s for sure!

    Well done, Roly!


  6. lynharrison4wind says:

    Good on Roly!!! Atta boy! At long last able to demonstrate what a terrier is all about. As a child I remember my mother’s fury when my father, clad in pyjama top only, one night toted his double bore shotgin up the loft ladder to take pot shots at the rat trundling the rafters and keeping everybody awake. He missed the rat, of course, but succeeded in shooting out several ancient roof tiles leaving us open to the elements. My mother resorted to rat poison (piles of nasty smelling white powder) and the rat disappeared, to be found by me (perhaps 10 or 11 years old at the time) floating in the open water cistern (yes, back up in the loft — I was trying to plug the holes in the roof as mine was the only bed getting wet!). The poor thing had dived into the water, driven there by thirst after consuming quantities of warfarin (spelling ?) poison. I wonder how much poison we drank as it leaked out of the swollen swimming rat, later a swollen floating corpse? Parents! Who needs them. Give me Roly any day! (Roly, offcuts from tonight’s T-bone bagged for you as reward. I’ll bring them over when I take Liana for a spin later in the week). Love to all. Sheba and David too. Lyn


  7. lynharrison4wind says:

    That should have read shot gun not shotgin, which sounds like a Maggie recipe I must try one day.


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