I've been talking to snake catchers. It's not a sentence I thought I'd ever utter.
I had decided not to worry to much about the "water" dripping from the ceiling because after all, how often does that happen?
Well, approximately every fortnight as it turns out. Yes, on Saturday, liquid was again dripping from my office ceiling. Whatever was up there was on a two weekly evacuation schedule, or maybe the liquid took two weeks to build up to the point of seepage.
So here I was talking to snake catchers. Snake catcher #1 thought it was possible that the liquid was due to a snake. Snake catcher #2 thought it unlikely. #2 bloke suggested that I get my "man" to go up in the ceiling space again and make sure it wasn't a possum. I tried not to be offended by his entirely accurate assumption that I wasn't the one crawling around in the ceiling space. #2 suggested that if the snake bothered Mr Blithe, then he should just pick it up and move it. And if it didn't want to let go of the beam, to make sure to grab it firmly behind the head.
Mr Blithe did not sound enthusiastic when I relayed this message to him. Given that there was approximately zero likelihood that I would do it myself, I didn't pursue the issue.
Enthusiastic bloke #2 suggested that we were privileged to have a snake in our ceiling and that every Queenslander (the house not the person) needs one. I have no real objection to snakes in the ceiling as long as they remain up there. I do object to stinky liquid flowing into my office.
Mr Blithe decided that instead of crawling around in the dark ceiling space with at least one large heat-sensing reptile, he would approach from the outside by popping off a roof panel or two (not an easy job but possible on a tin-roofed house) and see what was there. Any snake would be unlikely to leap out at him and he could survey potential problems and solutions. As this did not involve me in any capacity beyond moral support, handing up of tools and perhaps, dialling 000, I thought it was a great idea.
Three roof panels later, and one large snake retreating to a dark corner, it was pretty clear that the damage was snake related. Right above my head near the light fixture was where Mr (or Ms) Spotted Python liked to recline while dining. There were leftovers and a large damp patch in the dust.
There was also a large nest of grass and furry bits, let's call them discarded fur coats, nearer to the edge of the roof. Using a long stick, Mr Blithe gently suggested that the snake leave the premises. It was very reluctant but eventually crawled over the gutter, wrapped itself around the downpipe and finally flopped onto the ground and rapidly took to the horizon, we hope, but more likely into the building debris still piled under the house. Mr Blithe then cleaned out the nest and blocked off any future access points.
By this point dusk was falling and there were roof panels to be replaced. Mr Blithe and my father tackled the job. I continued to offer moral support and tools and later, butter chicken. We all act within our capacities.
All I can say is that no greater love has a person than this: removing a roof to look for wildlife, removing a snake, replacing the roof in the dark AND taking photographs for his anti-snake, heights disliking, blogging, averse-to-snake-pee-in-her-workspace partner. Thank you Mr Blithe.