Yesterday, as we sat together on the downstairs futon, recovering from the stress of three days of travel and alcohol on our systems, K. shrieked and pulled her legs off the floor. “A mouse!” she cried, pointing at the shelves holding our elderly hi-fi separates.
I crouched down to look underneath, and we did indeed have an unwanted visitor. I spent the next half an hour chasing him half-heartedly round the room, gradually stacking all of our furniture on the futon (and avoiding stacking it on K.) until he bolted for the hearth and then disappeared into a tiny crack between its fake-antique metal surround and the wall behind. It’s easy to forget that they can fit through any gap as big as their head, and under that fur their skull is as wide as a chickpea. I lit the fire to try and smoke the bugger out; when, at the end of the evening, I reached down to turn it off, I frightened him out of his position directly under the gas pipes, where he had been warming himself, and he scurried back into his hole.
Over night, I left out the decidedly not patented Small Beds Humane Mouse Trap. The equipment itself consisted of a plastic Ikea bin with a shallowish, slippy lip of around an inch and a half, containing a bit of buttered toast. The bait was what remained of my dinner, put to one side after I was thoroughly put off eating by the enscurriment of tiny clawed feet. Leading up to the bin was a taped-together assembly of two rulers, forming a ramp. I scattered tiny amounts of crumbs where I could up the rulers. K’s verdict was that it looked “wastey,” and she wasn’t convinced it would do anything but act as something to trip over at a later date.
But by the morning we had a mouse in a bin. He looked tremendously confused, and didn’t like it at all when, at the far end of our small mews, I started to tip the bin over so he could flee down the road. But it felt like a tremendous achievement, as I watched him head off to no doubt be whacked by a broom, or run over by one of our country’s brave, suffering motorists.
(To be honest, I think the secret to catching him wasn’t so much the apparatus—wastey indeed—as the preparatory stages of hoovering the entire room and removing all trace of food. There’s no obvious route outside the room, as the hole in the metal surround leads to nothing much. Buttered toast smells buttery and toasty, and I dare say he just headed towards the most obvious source of snack. It’s what I’d have done; I wish I could add “if I were a mouse.”)