Country discomfort


by admin on February 3, 2010

Ah, country life. There’s nothing like it. It adds a zest to living that occasionally reaches panic proportions.

I speak from recent experience. There I was, heavily supper-sedated, happily lying stretched out watching my favourite program “Two and a Half Men” on my double recliner chair. Then, during the few moments of silence that usually last briefly between commercials, I heard a faint scratching noise coming from the nearby wood-panelled wall. I froze! Sounds like mice living within the walls. If the wife learns we have rodents living inside the house she’ll freak out and we’ll have to move, I thought.

Now this wasn’t the first time I’d heard small scratching noises coming from the space where the wood panel interior wall meets the exterior round logs. Of course, in a house converted from a barn to a cottage in the 1940′s there was no insulation. Just hollow spaces for the animal world to move into. I’ve heard similar scratching noises before, usually during the winter, but always gone by spring.

This year the scratching sound was strangely steady. It didn’t stop and start as in other years. It was a steady sound of what I thought of as mice, maybe rats, gnawing their way into my room. Now I began to seriously think of moving out myself. Anything that could munch so steadily would soon come bursting out of the walls and God knows what would happen after that.

Then sanity returned. The sound was so steady that I began to have second thoughts. This was, maybe, not mice. The mind searched for an answer and a much more horrible solution came to light. The steady sound was not mice or rats or perhaps homeless beavers… but dripping water. Yes. I said to myself the spot where the sound came from was under where the roof of the original house met the roof of the two-storey addition.

“The roof was leaking!” my inner voice shouted, “And it’s running between the walls. The house will have to be demolished!”

We’ll have to move into the city and

live a life with neighbours, noise and traffic tie-ups, I moaned to myself, as I rose from the chair and went to see what to do. I rounded the kitchen and the noise got louder. I went into the back corridor and the noise level moved up another octave. Then I reached the juncture where main house met addition and I froze. It was an out-and-out gusher. The house was a goner I thought. I opened the door to the addition expecting waist-high water. Instead there was nothing but bone-dry carpeting and the sound of running water.

Suddenly the dawn broke. I peered outside and there was the stream of water. It wasn’t going between the walls but was pouring down from the two roofs joint and landing on the ground about two feet from the wall of my room. What I heard was water harmlessly hitting hardened ground.

Frankly, the roof runoff in mid-January when it should have been frozen ice, gave me two hours of near panic. But discomfort from time to time is a part of country life. I still remember the winter of ’71 when snow closed our road for three straight weeks.

Now that was discomfort.