I have arrived back in the Czech Republic to find pristine snow glittering with ice diamonds and clear blue skies. I have also found that I share my home with mice. I suppose it is hardly surprising given the long grass surrounding the house now a foot deep in snow. My local field mice have packed their bags and taken to the warmth of my house.
This is not the first time I have had this problem, as long-standing readers of this blog will know. Before I left the house I spent a great deal of time blocking holes in skirting boards with sadra (plaster) and cutting strips of wood to fit the gaps in the floorboards (my builders had very kindly supplied the mice with perfect nest-building conditions by putting insulation materials under the floorboards). All in vain, alas.
I had left one bed ready made for my return, I turn back the duvet ready to climb in and lo! - a pile of bean husks and mice poo. The following day I searched the house to find that the little furry darlings had knocked over a container of dried peas and struck lucky as the lid had come off, not one pea was left to be seen. Well not to be seen there, all day I found stashes of peas - among the bedclothes, in the towels, in my stationary drawer. Then as I lifted a pillow off the wardrobe a huge quantity of peas fell through a hole which had been gnawed in the pillowcase. I still cannot work out how they got up there, I had to stand on a chair to look, sure enough there was another pile of peas.
Back in the bedroom where I had first found the remnants of mice midnight feast, I suddenly noticed the corpse of a mouse by the table and then, as I picked that up with a shovel, another under the radiator. There was no sign of injury on them and they were as fat as mice who had been living on the products of my larder should be. I carried them into the yard and left them for the farmcat. I am hoping the dried peas disagreed with them. It will save me from extracting mangled corpses from mousetraps if so.