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...

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