A plague does not happen overnight, there are warning signs. Signs that only make sense after the devastation, just as we experienced in Lamont Towers last night. Lets roll back a month to the garden. Two holes appeared in the ground very slowly near the base of a tree where divots were formed when we felled 20 years ago a 35m fir tree and the roots rotted. Then two nights ago a strange cat appeared at 7pm sniffing around the holes then sat still nearby tail wrapped around his legs. I visited the greenhouse much later to restart the paraffin heaters and noticed through the dark, reflections of cats eyes peering back.
Warning number two occurred in March as Lady Lamont redecorated the downstairs bathroom. Son #2 makes first contact while in the bathroom. A mouse appears below the bath. House alerted by a mouse, everyone moves to Defcon 3 and a cautious search begins. I say cautious because no one ever wants to dispose of a mouse even if they can’t explain the reluctance. So I placed an old electric mouse trap under the bath and after much door opening and listening around the house, nothing. Quiet for four weeks until last night.
The parents having watched the fourth Twilight movie in the ‘saga’. The one in which a vampire baby is conceived and born within 4 weeks, in doing so blood splatters everywhere. Following the credits, feet were raised onto sofas as heartbeats calmed. Son #2 burst into the room saying he can hear a mouse in his room. Avengers Assembled. Son#2 and I went in and could hear a munching sound. We closed the door and strategised. The room had boxes of stuff heaped in corners so we began to clear it which lured Lady Lamont’s appearance. After a quick discussion she agreed to be the (reluctant) rear guard Avenger armed with a shoe box to trap it if it made a run for the bathroom. Then we began the mouse hunt in the room.
30m later we saw him then lost the intruder as torch batteries died. I don’t know why, but holding a beam of light as powerful as a lighthouse in your hand gives confidence. Must be a Luke Skywalker thing and could have done with it during my school exams… “There he is!” I calmly screamed in a high pitch. Dark grey soft fur, twitching whiskers paper thin pink ears, he sat watching me with his beady black eyes. Cute and so tiny, half a ping pong ball if that. Determined we moved in a pincer movement towards his corner, still munching. Short of enough shoe boxes we grabbed towels as a weapon although unsure and uncomfortable if we should try and trap or trap and squish with a following foot, bit messy. He was pinned and visible, still eating a bit of polystyrene! First thought cancerous, then a blood rush -nest building! We made our move. He jumped then sped past us towards the closed door we chased and he was gone. Then that munching sound returned.
By now an hour had passed. Who knew chasing a teeny weeny mouse could instil pounding hearts and sweating. We rested on the stairs. Suddenly we all saw a flash of fur from underneath us on the stairs zip to the same room and disappear underneath the closed door. “There’s two!” we said together and fearing a contained problem just became uncontained, mice not mouse, war not hunt.
Son#2 and I drew breath and moved faster and more coordinated as a team. We split them apart one in each corner of the room. Again they darted around us like we were too slow, which we were. Learning that towels would be equally useless as a weapon. They darted in and out the room to/from under the stairs as we stood, pointless.
The Avengers tooled-up for the endgame. Towels replaced by more boxes and a Dyson. My thinking was its long pipe would allow faster tracking of their movement and provide a contactless final act. That contactless bit is important. Remember the story of the elephant and the mouse? It must be true because all thee of us were shrieking on every glimpse. We made a three stage plan. I would attack under the stairs with the vacuum dispatcher, Son #2 was ready to imprison any mouse making a break for the bedroom with a box and Lady Lamont was armed with a big box in the hall leading to the bathroom. I poked and prodded the bags under the stairs with the noisy pole of death, then quick as a flash the broke past the Dyson like it wasn’t there, towards my feet which were oddly six inches off the ground and still rising as I caught the dyson and clattered it over. They scurried past Son#2 who was also in slow levitation and broke for the bathroom. (I have to say Lady Lamont was not a Black Widow kick-ass willing assassin Avenger in this war, she would easily substitute this for a visit to the dentist). Bravely though she saw them coming and lunged towards with a box. Missed one by and inch and she too found one leg in the air while the muscle in the other leg went ping then she fell to the floor in agony only to see the mice scurry off into the bathroom.
With one casualty, the house resembling a warzone and the Avengers fearing an Infinity War, an order for ten mousetraps was made at 3am this morning with same day delivery. I’m off to buy some peanut butter. We’re laughing now because three adults were reduced to squealing, hovering 3rd rate ballet dancers, apart from one who didn’t achieve a full hover mouse clearance and is limping badly in pain. That limp will require subsequent explanations 🙂
Be alert in Spring for sings of mice and rats (digging holes in the garden) and act quickly. Another missing Poppy moment 🙁
Mouse traps arrived 3pm. Within 20m of being baited and set the first “snap” echoed from the bathroom. 20m later a second dispatching. Lamont Towers has finally returned to its preferred calm demeanour. However as two poor mice have shown, it’s a thin veneer.