Words from a Bird. Day 69
We have a mouse in the loft. When I'm in bed, quietly reading, I can hear its scratchy little claws doing a quickstep across the ceiling. In my mind, this little critter is over two feet long, and would eat me alive if it got the chance. I've read James Herbert's The Rats...however irrational my thoughts are, that bloody book will stay with me forever.
Unlike me, the husband is actually scared of mice, which probably explains why we have never got round to putting a loft ladder in - I think he's worried that Little Mickey upstairs might get the hang of the loft hatch and start invading our living accommodation, planting a miniature flag on top of the fruit bowl. It was with some trepidation then that I told him about the nocturnal scuttlings upstairs, and I watched the blood drain from his face.
He remembers very clearly when he was woken up abruptly in the middle of the night by something plucking a hair off the top of his big toe, as his foot dangled out of the bed. He had launched the tiny plucker (sorry, couldn't resist that..) across the bedroom floor, and having switched the lights on, I was surprised to see the cutest little field mouse, sitting in the middle of the carpet having crash-landed by my dressing table.
As we moved, so did he, running under a chair in the corner of our room. A chair which up till that night had been the perfect place to hide old handbags behind, what with it having a lovely frilly valance and all that. I took the full length mirror off the wall and propped it against the chair, so mousey couldn't escape, and told the husband to go and find me something which I could catch him with.
Two minutes later he was back, carrying a wicker waste basket and a snooker cue. To appreciate the full picture here, you need to understand that it was three in the morning, so clothing was not a priority. 'What are you planning to do with that?' I asked. 'Challenge him to a frame?' (I was referring to the cue in case you're wondering).
I probably did that 'raising my eyes to the ceiling' thing that I do on these occasions, and I slowly lifted the chair over the top of the mirror, leaving a muddle of handbags in a pile on the floor. The husband, armed with his wicker basket, used the cue to lift one of the bags off the pile. He gave it a vigorous shake on the end of the cue, launched the mouse-free bag onto the bed, and thrust the cue at me.
'Your turn', he said.
'We're not playing bloody Buckaroo', I said, give it to me'.
One by one, I lifted the bags away. As each one was dumped onto the bed, the husband inched further and further away towards the bedroom door. Finally, with no bags left, the little mouse had nowhere to hide. Into the wicker basket he went, and for the second time in an hour he flew, this time across the front garden.
Of course, he came back. I didn't know at the time that a drive of about 10 miles would have guaranteed his non-return, but there was no way I was going to send the husband out in the car with just a wicker basket to preserve his modesty.
What would the neighbours have said...