A day in the life of William Frederick, author and decent chap.
Today started as most days do, much too early. I swung my warm feet out of bed and into my cold slippers, made sure that my nightshirt was not held above see-level, stuck between my bum cheeks, and headed for the coffee pot.
Beloved was already up and by the look of the way that she threw yesterday’s stale bread at the birds, rather than to them, I surmised that she had got out of bed from the wrong side. Luckily, I am a very deep sleeper and didn’t notice her clambering over me.
“Good morning, dearest!” I cried in cheerful vain, as I attempted to focus on the kettle.
“That bloody mouse has dug up one of my potted plants and munched the roots. You have to do something!”
Visions of a light breakfast of coffee with a side helping of Cumberland sausages, fried eggs, hash browns, bacon, black pudding, a couple of slices of fried bread, and baked beans with additional fried tomatoes and mushrooms (for health reasons) wafted away, as the harsh reality of life here in the wilds of Scotland hit home. The 8:30 mouse had struck again!
Beloved and I had noticed an incursion of insurgent mice making forays into our self-built, log home paradise and we had taken decisive action. Not wishing to hurt the little blighters, I authored a hard-hitting leaflet campaign but as time marched on, and as mouse numbers increased, I realised that these were extreme hardliners, not interested in our reasonable pleas. So we changed tactics and attempted to block up their holes, a task that proved quite difficult as they would not stay still for long enough.
In the end, we fathomed exactly where they were gaining access into our living space and we made a foray of our own into the solum space under the floor and blocked up three mouse entry points with wire mesh and builder’s foam. This proved to be quite successful except for the family of mice that had set up home beneath our huge, old, oak, Victorian armoire situated in the study. These mice had effectively been locked in the house!
So, we bought several humane mouse traps and baited them with peanut butter and shortbread, a big favourite with Scottish mice. After a few days, we had caught most of them and had relocated them outside, into the wilds of the glen. One mouse, a delinquent, loony mouse that either did not appreciate peanut butter or knew that the traps meant enforced relocation, declined to be caught.
He (Beloved said that the mouse was so stupid, he had to be male) appeared at 8:30 every evening and ran across the living room heading for the kitchen, ignoring all of our thoughtfully placed humane traps. Beloved was getting more exasperated by the day. A plan of action had to be formulated as the 8:30 Mouse, as he’d become known, was nibbling things that should not be nibbled and making a general nuisance of himself. Was that a blackened Cumin seed on the kitchen floor or a mouse poop? When biting into them to find out, one had a fifty-fifty chance of it being a most unpleasant experience.
I hit upon the idea of upturning a translucent plastic bucket and propping it up on one side with a small, wooden clothes-peg attached to a long length of string. Under the bucket we placed a tasty assortment of nuts and sunflower seeds – a feast fit for a furry little mouse king! This was accompanied by a suggestive, miniature, holiday brochure.
At eight o’clock that evening, I had gone for a quick shower and was duly attending to washing the assorted bits of William and building up a good lather of suds in my thinning hair, when Beloved shouted, “Got him!” Thankfully, we are blessed with living in an area of countryside where there are no neighbours to spot rotund, soapy authors releasing mice into the undergrowth.