Sunday, 12 April 2009


They fought the dogs, and killed the cats,
And bit the babies in the cradles,
And ate the cheeses out of the vats,
And licked the soup from the cook's own ladles,
Split open the kegs of salted sprats,
Made nests inside men's Sunday hats,
And even spoiled the women's chats,
By drowning their speaking
With shrieking and squeaking
In fifty different sharps and flats.

From The Pied Piper of Hamelin by Robert Browning

Well, it's not that bad. We've only got mice. It's my own fault too; when we had the nice weather a week or so ago I went and started cleaning out a shed in the yard, which was the one place the previous owners had not cleaned before they left.

Let me digress, and state that much as I sympathise with the impulse to keep, from motives of economy and environmentalism, scraps of this and that which may be useful at some future date, the answer is NO!!! Unless you actually sort them and store them properly, with some actual future use in mind. All you are doing otherwise is putting off the day of reckoning when someone else will have to haul it all to the dump. Me, it generally seems.

I'm not sure this rather large and deluxe shed had ever even been used, except to store the leftover scraps from building it, which were tossed on the floor, along with sheets of styrofoam. Need I even say what happened next? Mousingham palace, it was.

Anyway, I was thinking that next year I would like to use this shed as a chicken coop, and so I went and began hauling out all the bits of board and wood, now chewed and wet with mouse urine and no good to anyone, along with the nests of dried grass and styrofoam bits, and huge quantities of empty walnut shells. Surprisingly, I only came nose to nose with one fat bastard in the process.

But there were more; oh yes, there were.

And you know what they did then? They moved into our house. They got into my kitchen linen drawer, and destroyed a number of tea towels and table cloths, although what tipped us off was the butter dish full of turds. We've caught two*; I really hope that's all of them. Now to go and stuff every opening we can find with steel wool.

*We have a long established and mutually satisfactory system: Mr Ferdzy sets the traps, because I'm afraid of snapping my fingers. I empty the traps, because he's squeamish. Oddly, it's been my job ever since I was a kid.**

**My younger brother once tried juggling his gerbil. Take note: it doesn't exactly work. I came back from flushing the poor little furry body down the toilet just in time to hear my father starting to agree to get him another one, and put my foot down. No gerbils for people not willing to do their own flushing.***

*** I didn't flush this pair. I was standing there wondering how to dispose of the first one, when my viewpoint suddenly shifted, and I realized what I had wasn't difficult garbage, but a perfectly good mouse. Fresh, and all. I put it outside, and sure enough, it was gone in the morning. No tracks, so presumably some large bird had a nice meal.****

****Speaking of which, we just came back from dinner with my mother. We told her about the mice, and so after dinner she showed us a certain episode of Corner Gas. Uncanny.


da said...

This post amused me. A lot.

Though, sorry to hear about the tenants.

Ferdzy said...

Well Daniel, I'm glad to hear somebody's happy.

I still retain a certain amount of vexation and bitterness of spirit. These were mice of good taste and discernment - they went for my Turkish tea towels from Williams Sonoma and one of my two matching Martha Stewart tablecloths (not the one with the stain - the other one) and left all the ratty old stuff alone.

I should know by now that evictions never go as smoothly as I hope.