Monday 18 June 2018

On mice.

So, mice.

Well - A mouse, at least.  Although there are probably more; as Husband said recently, they tend not to live alone.

Mice are one of the perils of living in our terrace of older houses; they probably pop in and out of numbers 1 through 6 with impunity, picking up a few grains or rice here, some crumbs of bread there, some spilled sugar somewhere else.  Admittedly I've not seen any recently, but I'm all too aware that doesn't mean we don't actually have any, despite the electronic thingamijigs we've plugged into the wall at various points and which supposedly emit a pulse that they don't like too much. (If they are here, do the mice in our terrace don little ear defenders before venturing into our house, perhaps? I wonder...).

I'm not sure why I'm so convinced there are mice in residence at our address, but for some reason I'm constantly on the alert for that unsettling little shadow moving swiftly down the edge of my peripheral vision.  The last time we saw them was back during The Big Cold of February.  It necessitated my unearthing of our humane mouse traps; you know, the ones that don't actually break their necks but which trap them in a dark tunnel of plastic until they are humanely released into the wild by the wuss (me and my boys) who has decided that leaving them to freeze to death at the bottom of the garden in minus 6degC and half a foot of snow is kinder than ending their life with one swift blow.  Actually, I knew it wasn't kinder; I just couldn't face clearing up the mess that the alternative would result in.

In any case, we set the traps.  Days passed before any of the doors dropped shut, to the extent that we began to wonder if perhaps the mice had upped and moved on.  Eventually, however, we struck lucky and came down one morning to find one of the traps had been triggered.  Boy #1 (now 14) gingerly picked it up.

'I think there's something in there, Mum."

'You think?  Well I'm not touching it.  What do you reckon; is there or isn't there one inside?'

'There definitely is.'  He sort of waved it around a bit.  'I think it's heavier.  Shall I check?'

'If you must. Be careful.  OR, you could put your boots on and just go and check outside...'

'No, it's too cold out there. I'll do it here.'

Carefully, he unhooked the door.

When I was a kid, there was a roller coaster at Blackpool called The Wild Mouse.  Whilst the drops weren't particularly high, it was one of the scariest rides I ever went on because of the speeds that the cars would run at, and the sudden twists and turns the track took.

You can guess what happened next in our kitchen, I think.  Boy #1 levered the door open and as he did so a limber and quite formidable mouse - perhaps an Alpha Mouse - grabbed it's chance and literally flung itself out of the top of the tube.  Catapulting to the floor amidst a chorus of screams and squeals from it's unprepared captors, it made a break for freedom and escaped back under the cooker, never to be seen again.  In my defence, who knew that mice had such mad skillz in the climbing up the inside of plastic tubes department?

Actually, now that I write it down, of course they do, but still; it was cold, dark outside, and we hadn't yet had breakfast...

Shortly after that, we got The Dog.  I'm told that owning one can actually increase the possibility of having mice; something to do with the fact that their food bowls are on the floor, resulting in free meals for rodents.  However, since we got a Labrador, one of Nature's most effective eating machines - thank goodness the pattern on the kitchen floor tiles is part of the moulding rather than printed on - there's literally nothing left for any mice to eat.

I think we're good - but I'm still on the alert for that little black shadow in the corner of my vision...

Friday 8 June 2018

Laughing at my own jokes, and other embarrassments

I was searching through old posts on here this morning; god, I had a lot to say back in the day.  Some of it was even quite entertaining - or at least, it is, to me now.  That raises a question, actually; is it bad form to laugh at your own old blog posts in the same way that you're not supposed to laugh at your own jokes?  I like to think not; after all, back when I started this blogging malarky it wasn't sponsorship or advertising led.  No, those of us who were doing it (and there were only a handful back in the mid-noughties) were generally doing so for the fun of it.  Well - that, and for the therapeutic benefits of editing our reality and making it funny.

And so to another question; can I write posts now that I could look back at in ten years time, which would still make me smile?  And then, that leads to yet another; given the relative quiet on here recently, can I write any posts at all?

I think I could.  I would have to be even more circumspect now than I was then, of course; Boys #1 and #2 might be less than happy if their lives were used as blog-fodder.  Teens and their insistence on privacy, dammit.  But still.  There's always The Dog, right?  He doesn't get a choice in the management of his digital footprint.  And actually, I find that now I'm in my fifties there are things I want to say, reflections I want to make, that perhaps I can't say out loud to people around me.  There's only so much one wants to share with the other Year 9 parents about continence clinics and a lack of patience with  what my sis calls 'performance parenting', for example.

(Those two subjects are unrelated.  Obviously).

Blogging as a form of thinking out loud: that's pretty much the reason I started all this back in 2007.  Nothing changes, after all...

So, to that end, and until I manage to find the time to write something entertaining about what's going on in my life at the moment, here's a flight of fancy that I wrote on The Potty Diaries back in 2011.  I hope you enjoy - it made me smile, anyway...

September 2011: And in Other News...

...I've just had an email asking me if I am interested in buying accessories for my washing machine.

Excuse me? Accessories for my washing machine? Before I clicked on the link (for yes, I am that mug), I spent a happy few seconds imagining what they might be. Perhaps a jaunty little hat for those trips to the farmer's market? A natty pair of leather gloves for those chilly days, now that autumn is here? Or maybe an autumnaly coloured scarf, for wear whilst out mushrooming in the forest?

No, of course, don't be potty, PM. Let's get real.

Perhaps, then, the term 'accessories' when matched with 'washing machine' could refer to some swanky go-faster stripes, colour-coordinated to match the granite work surface in your kitchen. For obviously, no washing machine that would need something as grand as an accessory could possibly be seen anywhere without a slab of granite or corian close to hand. Or actually, maybe the granite or corian IS the accessory, and this is the manufacturer's way of branching out into a new market-place? Or, perhaps it refers to some washing machine bling; a cheeky little swarovski crystal tattoo around the base of the door? (Don't laugh - I actually think Sub-zero have already done this with a fridge).

But no. 'Washing machine accessories' actually means 'detergent'. And, if you're going to push the boat out, it can also mean 'descaler'. Who knew?

Oh yes, and my older son just asked me if, when he's 12, I will let him watch that well-known movie 'Pirate Caravan'. I said yes, naturally. Well, a film about pirates on holiday in a 4 berth caravan, perhaps on the west coast of France, squabbling about who's turn it is to empty the waste container, who ate the last weetabix for breakfast, and who's responsible for their getting lost and ending up at a nuclear power station instead of at the unspoilt beach within easy reach of a local vineyard - what's not to like?