Powerless – The Year the Lights Went Out

Thursday, February 20 – A mouse in the house

First it was moles and now it’s mice. We had an infestation of mice in the house about a year ago and so I know the signs well. You’d think droppings would be the first clue, but no, it’s nibbled packets, shreds of paper in unexpected places and emptied nutshells.

This morning I was sure I saw something dart under the heating pipe in the kitchen. I wasn’t sure what it was at first, but I decided to look in the back of the larder and my suspicions were confirmed.  I found a nest in an old insulated cool bag. The lining had been chewed to shreds to make a cosy winter home. I suppose the recent wet weather has washed away their food and now the mice are moving into better accommodation, just as they did last year when it was very cold.

In the past, we relied on our expert mouser Maisie, who disappeared on her last great mouse hunt last summer. Or I would have rung our pest control man, Tom, who deals in all manner of vermin. But in these powerless times we can’t call on his help as he lives too far away. I remember him saying once that the acid test for determining whether or not there is a mouse in residence is a chocolate biscuit. Of course, we don’t have that luxury any more. I can’t think when we last saw a biscuit, let alone a chocolate one. I don’t even have any long forgotten chocolates hiding in the back of the larder.

We don’t have any traps either, as we’ve always relied on our clever cat before. I told Martin we shall definitely have to get a cat again if this becomes a serious problem. And then I remembered that last year, when the mice were being a nuisance, I had put a humane trap inside the breakfast room window seat. So I’ve retrieved it and baited it with a fragment of one of the gilded and sugared almonds, which  decorated our table at Christmas over a year ago. They’re never eaten, so I’d saved them as decorations and now they’re being put to good use.

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