There's been a smell. A weird whiff. A baffling bouquet.
It's lingered around our house for over a week now.
When we returned from our Father's Day walk last Sunday, it hit you on opening the front door. And I don't mean hit you. I mean absolutely smashed the nostrils clean off your recoiling face. And you would happily swap your hooter for the chance to not smell that perfume. Yet even this was not enough to avoid the revolting stink. It still found you; through your eyes, your ears, your hair. You could taste it. And Dave hadn't even had his Sunday poo yet.
We managed to track it down to emanating from the kitchen. We spent, well, I say we...Dave spent most of last week taking the kitchen A-P-A-R-T. I pretended to do things with bits of paper. Never did I envisage my return to work coming in so handy. He tackled the oven, grill, washing machine, dishwasher, microwave, sink; even the light fittings have been dismantled, sniffed, cleaned and returned. I was delighted when he scooped the gloop out of the gutters over the back door. They've needed doing for ages. He found myriad stinks, but none of them was THAT ONE. Then, we/he homed in the fridge freezer.
Yep. It was coming from there. Defo.
Seeing Dave working so hard, I felt compelled to get my hands dirty, so I rolled up my sleeves and Googled our fridge. Lots of whinging about drip trays. So he pulled the whole thing away from the wall. Drawers out, shelves off, drip tray located and washed: all in less than five minutes. No joy. As I stood watching Dave mooch around the motor and wiring in the back, I turned to my right and sniffed. I sniffed again. That wall smells weird. It definitely gets stronger there. I grabbed a kitchen chair to stand on, and traced the sickly stench up to a corner behind the fridge, to where the walls means the ceiling. There. That's it.
The root of the terrible tang. Something is IN THERE. Something that seems very, very poorly.
We have got a baby girl living in this house with whatever that is/was. We needed to act now. So, while Dave got the step ladders out and climbed up on the flat roof to investigate, I ran round the house hysterically screaming and pulling clumps of my hair out. Dave couldn't see anything without removing tiles, which wasn't possible in the pouring ran, and as I had by now rendered myself totally bald, we decided to call it a night. We rang a roofer who would come at the weekend and lift the tiles to sort it while all three of us were well out of harms way in London. Problem solved. We thought.
Saturday morning. 9am. The call came as we ate our breakfast.
The offending item had gone. One very large, maggot infested dead cat. I suddenly didn't fancy my muesli.
There was more. Clean up would be required... in the... erm.....kitchen.
This time I went for the eyebrows. After I'd done a few laps of the restaurant and scratched at my forearms until I had drawn blood, we realised we'd have to go home.
The upshot is this. Dave spent six hours Saturday and all Sunday removing our entire kitchen ceiling as chunks of cat and maggot ravaged insulation continued to fall through. Betty has been liberally coated in hand sanitiser hourly since Friday evening. I have sat in the corner of our bedroom with my knees tucked under my chin, rocking and muttering - occasionally pausing to spray air freshener.
The rotting reek has finally begun to disperse.
But let's not been all doom and gloom.
Why should you opt for stuffing a dead cat in your roof?
1) Detest a previously installed tongue and groove ceiling and want it replacing quickly?
Ours is now being plasterboarded. Yeeehaaa.
2) Sick of the expensive carousel of visitors who always want to eat at your house and never return the favour?
No one will eat with us ever again after reading that. You're welcome.
3) House need a bloody good scrub but haven't been able to find the motivation to do it?
I have spent an unbroken twenty four hours bleaching our whole property. The grout in our bathroom has never been whiter. Sweet.
3) Tired of spiralling haircare bills at expensive salons?
I'm now bald as a coot. Not even got eyebrows. Kerchiiiing.
See. Every cloud.