Mouse tales. Not for the squeamish.

Our two cats look sweet but are fearless and ferocious.  Only last night Edwin (pictured above looking innocent) came charging in from the garden carrying a large worm.

Their exploits as hunters are trying to say the least.

A couple of months back, I felt uneasy about the vague whiff of death that seemed to be developing in our living room.  Sitting on the sofa drinking a cup of tea, it seemed to me that the general atmosphere lacked freshness.  I commented on this to my youngest daughter, to whom the problem was not immediately apparent.

“Come in,” said I.  “Come in properly and sit where I was sitting just there in the middle of the sofa, then I think you’ll – ”


Just on the verge of taking a seat she spotted what I had overlooked: a well dead mouse laid out just there adjacent to where I’d been sitting.  That explained the smell, then.

This last week, in the kitchen this time – the temporary kitchen which is not usually a kitchen at all and where consequently we also have a sofa – I sat down on the sofa sipping tea while I waited patiently for my porridge to cook. 

I happened to glance down at the cushion alongside me.  I should explain that our sofas are not simple affairs where a dead rodent would be immediately obvious, but muddles of multi-coloured throws and cushions and sheepskins.

“?” I thought.  “That’s . . . that’s a tail!”

Further investigation confirmed that the object beside me on the sofa was indeed someone’s tail – attached still to its now deceased owner, a dear little house-mouse with a pointy nose and sweet ears.  Extremely sad.

Then the day before yesterday I decided to tackle the Christmas Leftovers in the fridge.  Epiphany loomed on the horizon, and it seemed to me that some of that collection of bowls and plastic storage boxes must be due for a turn-out.

I started with the small plastic sealed tub of aduki beans sitting on the top shelf.  It had been there since before Christmas, I knew that much.  The wall of the tub allowed me to determine the contents but not verify the state of their condition: not until I removed the lid did the advancing glutinous grey-green slime enveloping the beans become apparent.  Right, then.  Into the compost bucket with them!

I also knew there to be a small bowl containing a portion of trifle at the back of the middle shelf.  I hooked it out.  Hmm.  Not actually rotting as such, but no longer appetising either.  I chucked that in the compost bucket with the aduki beans and the other various peelings already there.

Unable to avoid facing the truth that the noble thing to do would be take the bucket down the garden and empty it into the compost heap without further delay, I actioned the promptings of conscience, taking a spoon to scrape out the bucket into the big bin.

Even with the spoon, the bucket still exhibited slimy cling-ons, and I thought I’d better rinse it out with the rainwater in the watering can before taking it back into the house, given that our washing-up facilities are limited while the kitchen is in pupation.

So I grabbed the watering can and sloshed some rainwater accumulated therein into to compost bucket.  As often happens, the out-sloosh of water stopped because something blocked the spout.  Snails and dead leaves etc drop in sometimes, and gather blocking the spout when the can is used.  I put down the can, swished round the bucket, tossed the swill-water across the herb-bed and turned back to the can for a second lot of rinse-water.  “!”

“What the hey?!”

There, unmistakeably, from the spout, protruded a long grey-whiskered pink tail and a pair of feet!  Oh, my life!!

Nonplussed for a moment, I looked at the can.  Then it occurred to me that giving the remaining rainwater in it a mighty swoosh down the spout might eject the beast within like a kind of awful parody of birth.  This proved to be the case, and a small rat-ling was delivered upon the herb bed, where I buried it.

I tell you, it’s a white-knuckle ride living here in St Leonards!


365 Day 8 (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, see here)

A fragrant beeswax candle.  Disposed of this in the obvious manner; very nice too.  So many objects end up like this, cluttering up drawers because I mean to put them to good use one day – but never get around to it.