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Of Mouse and Man


Of Mouse and Man
A True Story of Man versus Nature

Picture this.  I got home from the Abercorn Arms, late on a Friday Night, to be greeted as ever by Alice. This time however, there was none of the usual greeting, such as "Hello darling!"  No, that night it was "We've got a mouse!" which doesn't have the same sense of endearment attached to it.

At a time when civilised people are normally heading for bed, I was sent to find the Weapon of Mouse Destruction, rat poison. I put two neatly sculpted piles near the sliding doors to the garden, which I assumed was the little pest's point of entry.

Next morning the poison was gone.  I supposed that the mouse took the bait.  I repeated the process that evening and, again, the next morning the mousey morsels were gone.  Again that evening I put down some more, and the same thing happened. The grizzly granules had gone. A fourth evening I put down some tasty treats, and the next morning they were still mostly there.

We had won.  Or so we thought. Our little friend started to kick up a stink a few days later. It took us a while to realise what it was.  I searched the Internet for "find a dead mouse" and found a  wonderful site which told tales (tails?) of mice in computers; of the Turkey Buzzard, which can smell a dead mouse from two miles away; of an American beetle which appears soon after a mouse dies; of the horrendous smell which lasts for three weeks; but none had a solution except "Keep Looking".

Almost two weeks to the day after its first appearance, I managed to pinpoint the location of the no-more mouse. It was, I believed behind the biggest heaviest bookcase in the house, the one holding all the biggest heaviest books, the hi-fi, all the CDs and many large objects of doubtful use. As time passed, and as I got closer it got very bad, I was almost choking.


I spent all afternoon clearing everything off the shelves, before tentatively moving them a few feet away from the wall. What I saw next caused me to have mixed feelings.  Nausea, surprise, hilarity.

At the right-hand end at the back of the shelves was a pile of neatly stacked rat poison, looking identical to the large pile still untouched by the patio door. At the left end, curled up in a bed of leaves from a nearby house plant, with a smaller pile of bait was my late victim.  The smell was intense. I was so taken aback that I took the accompanying pictures.

I carefully removed the mouse, the leaves and the bait with two sheets of cardboard, tipping it all into a double thickness of old carrier bags, while wearing a bandana, Jesse James style over my nose and mouth. I then dry shampooed the carpet, before replacing the shelves. It then took another hour or so to polish the shelves, and restock them with their previous contents.  I can't exaggerate the smell of dead mouse.

We'll be buying an electronic mouse scarer, but if we ever get another mouse, we'll be using traps rather than bait, as they do die in the most inaccessible places.

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