You may have noticed a certain abundance of wildlife stories in my blog. I retired to Argyll, self built a log home with Beloved and settled down to write. It was then that the mice found a drainage hole that I had not blocked and made an invasion of said home.
Author’s note: Mouse holes are notoriously difficult to block as the nippy little buggers refuse to keep still.
We had solved the problem, catching the last mouse (the 8 o’clock mouse) several months back, gently flinging him out on his ear and into the rough. Since then we have watched the wildlife of Argyll through triple glazed windows making sure that the birds and rodents stay out there whilst we stay by-and-large in here.
The only potential exception to the rule is Peter the Pine Marten who would fling us out on our ear if he could get in. He’s a powerful little beast and has attitude in much abundance. I have been feeding him his jam butties further and further away from the house to dissuade him that chez W.F.Author is a des’ res’.
So all was well, until we ran out of bird feed. We stuff our birdlife full of fat balls and mixed seed all year round with additional peanuts in the harsh watches of winter. A fortnight ago I noticed that seed and fatball supplies had dropped to dangerously low levels so a trip to Oban, Pets-R-Costly was called for.
We made the trip and bought two tubs of fat balls and a 35kg sack of mixed seed. I did my best not to scream on receiving the bill, handed over an arm and a leg and left the shop trailing my trolley behind me, grumbling.
To make the trip cost effective petrol wise, we did a load of other shopping too and when we returned here we were both suffering from the effects of fatigue and needed a nice cup of tea and a substantial meal before spending the evening toasting our toes in front of the log fire.
The shopping was packed away into the fridge, freezer and the larder cupboards by yours truly, whilst Beloved sprang into action and heated up one of my home made curries.
I came in with the last shopping bag and announced that I would leave the fat balls and seed in the car boot until the following morning. There were several reasons for this. It was dark, my right hip is shot, the ground outside is a little rough and I daren’t fall over in case I damage my new left hip.
The next morning all was well. God, so I’m told, was in her heaven and all was right with the world. The sun was shining which is a rarity in Argyll but if truth be told we have had a lovely autumn so far. In view of the above I decided to get the sack truck, resplendent in it’s yellow paintwork and bright yellow wheels and hoik the sack of seed and fat balls from the car and into the storage boxes on the front veranda.
On opening the car I couldn’t fail to notice a cascade of seed across the car boot… On further inspection it became readily apparent that we had a back seat mouse! There were droppings everywhere!
As you know, mice are doubly incontinent, peeing and pooping wherever they happen to be which gives me two good reasons to blast them into kingdom come with a shotgun! However I have found that the damage-to-mouse ratio is too high and have resorted to traps, whilst I replace several floorboards in the house. What’s more the little blighter must have been stowed away in the sack of seed because the bag had been chewed from the inside out. We were in trouble, as we had unwittingly imported a ruddy rodent from foreign climes into the sanctity of Argyll.
I phoned Pets-R-Costly and was informed that if I had taken a mouse from their store, there would be a further charge of £3:50p! The infamy of it!
As happy happenstance would have it, we still had some humane mouse traps in storage so I baited three of them with bird seed and set them in the car. They were positioned close to the walls where mice like to run… and we waited.
The next morning arrived and I checked the traps. Nothing.
The morning after arrived and Bingo! We had a mouse in trap number two! It was a strange looking beast, longer and thinner that your average Argyll chap but there it is. This foreigner came from lord knows where, maybe as far as Preston! I did not allow the fact that s(he) was wearing a sombrero, to factor in the equation.
So to finish. We bravely lifted the humane trap from the car and opened it leaving said trap in the long grass at the back of the house. Four hours later the little bounder was still there, loafing around in way too much seed! I tipped him, his sombrero and the seed into the grass and decided to try a little Mouse Whispering, a technique that I’d seen work to great effect on horses. So, I leaned onto my walking stick getting as close to the mouse as I could and whispered, “Bugger off!”
It worked a treat!