This article was originally published on 11 April 2018.
I received a text message recently from the tenant of our converted granary. It requested that I telephone her immediately, there was a problem requiring my urgent attention. On calling, she relayed that in the middle of the night she had lain in bed listening to a gentle tapping noise, which she had quite correctly identified as a Deathwatch beetle. Most buildings over 150 years old have them, I explained, and we shouldn’t panic. They eat the rotten outside of the wood, so the ceiling should not fall in (yet). All the buildings on the farm are home to them, I said, in a show of comradeship.