A couple of weeks ago it suddenly struck me that I live in an almost hundred-year-old house. Almost period! But not quite: just as those quaint Victorian terraces and mews going for millions were once for us everyday folk (and our horses) my house, build in the early 1920s, is still very much your standard suburban London family home.
However, its age does mean it has one thing in common with the most ancient of family piles: nooks and crannies, crevices and cracks. Places for little critters to hide.
Over the last few years I’ve had a few ‘moments’ – the most recent being as I was finally settling down for a rest after a long day toiling in the parenting mines. I’m on our (old) sofa, perusing the state of our living room carpet when someone small comes in, looking for food. And it’s not your usual culprit. It’s a bloody mouse!
Now bearing in mind I’m pretty much scared of everything, I’m OK with mice. This little fellow was a cheeky and fearless one: he was clearly quite unalarmed at my presence, giving me the opportunity to track him down. So I’m following him (her?) around my house on tiptoes and it’s all getting a bit Warner Bros Cartoon when he darts behind a door and vanishes. “Aha” I’m like “I got you now you little expletive!”.
Only I don’t.
There’s just a cavity in the skirting board which was not there before. I know, because I (sometimes) clean behind that door and I redecorated last year. I hope it doesn’t mean there’s some unknown seismic activity in the area, or we have super mice, capable of creating their own habitation. His Lordship comes in and finds me flat out with my nose to the wall, shining a mini-torch into the crevice to try to see insists that we can’t have a mouse hole (Doubting Thomas has nothing on him) and so I end up stuffing up the imaginary mouse hole with imaginary newspaper and filler. Because I’m all about a quality job, me.
His doubting Lordship got to do humane trap duty.
I’ve now upped my annoying raised eyebrows and frantic gesturing when Childe throws bran flakes hither and yon with joyful abandon. Added mouthed “BUT WHAT ABOUT THE M-O-U-S-E” while making my eyes go “really big Mummy” at Daddy. I do find this is an under explored and under utilised parenting style – almost as if it is of no practical use, which I refuse to believe. Thank goodness for our robot vacuum cleaner, is all I can say.
So, that episode is over. But I did say visitors, plural. Yep. The second one hitched a ride on the bottom of the food bin caddy, and (from evidence left which, this time, was not PVA glue and glitter) made a concerted effort to get at a particularly pungent sock that had fallen down by the washing machine. Unfortunately for Slug, there was also a light dusting of Oxy on the floor. And thanks to that experiment, we learn that Oxy has the same caustic qualities as salt: thanks Slug, for giving your life in the name of needless science. On that occasion I did stand on the other side of the room gagging and twitching and shouting “Get it OUT! Get it OUT!”, because I’m not great with those … things.
So there we go. Moral of the story? Don’t throw bran flakes around if you live in an old house, and don’t put the food bin caddy down on the grass, even if it’s winter and you think you’re safe. Bleurgh.
Part of the Daily Post challenge on the theme: