Thursday, 27 March 2008


We are currently enduring an invasion of mice. Not grey housemice like the ones I am familiar with in England, but their larger brown country cousins. Our house sits next to a orchard with long grass in the summer, which backs on to countryside. Now the rich pickings have disappeared and the field mice have moved home. These wee beasties are brazen little beggars, with the ability to scale vertical obstacles and get everywhere. The pantry of course has been the scene of their forays – almost every packet has been gnawed, not enough to empty the contents but just enough to necessitate their disposal. The box of cleaning stuff has been raided for nesting materials – they are particularly fond of washing up sponges which they tear to shreds. The decorative candles on the windowsills have been stripped of their wicks. I found a hoard of pasta tubes inside one of my old shoes. To cap it all I came to bed the other night to find that there were droppings on my nice white duvet and the mice had even been under the covers.

My friend says “Get a cat, or allow the neighbours' one in”. But whilst the local cats are good mousers, they are not housetrained and I have had problems before. And so in desperation I went to the ironmongers and bought some mousetraps. Not knowing the Czech for mousetrap, this was achieved with some high-quality miming on my part - I must have looked a sight squeaking whilst making a simultaneous chopping movement, but it worked. The traps set, we caught two in a night. Looking at the beautiful little things with their large ears and warm brown fur, I feel like a murdering cur. But then I remind myself that it is one thing to share a little of my food with these lovely creatures, quite another to share my bed and my heart hardens.

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