Wednesday, 14 November 2007


Listening to: Sunshine Star (Chemical Brothers)
Shifting: a couple of tons of 20-year-old chicken manure
Just had: a very deep, very hot and very necessary bath
What's for tea?: Aloo Gobi
Weather: winter sunshine
Surf: 3ft, onshore breeze, a little messed up

We stared at each other, waiting for one of us to blink. His beady little eyes flickered slightly as he searched for an escape route.

Then he made his move, throwing himself off the worksurface and onto the leg of the two-ring camping stove that I'm using until Boots get around to delivering the new cooker. He scampered down the leg in the manner of Tom Cruise in the Mission Impossible films and disappeared behind the skirting board. . . all in the time it took me to say "bloody hell" or something.

We've got mice. Well of course we've got mice. We live in the country in a near-derelict house, so mice go with the deal.

When we arrived in July the "kitchen" (an old-fashioned cupboard-sized scullery} was littered with mouse droppings. We cleaned up, plugged any gaps we could find, kitted the place out as best we could and we hadn't seen one since.

Since Mrs Trainee Pig Farmer left to spend a couple of months in the fleshpots of Wolverhampton (and one week in southern Spain) I've been careful not to fall into bachelor habits, tidying food away, brushing up crumbs and so on.

But I suppose it is hardly surprising they're back, especially now it's bloody freezing outside.

The latest sighting prompted me into extreme action. I grabbed Trevor (the cat, put him in the middle of the kitchen and shut the door. I opened the door expecting to see a fine selection of slaughtered mice, only to be bitterly disappointed. Trev was sat exactly where I'd left him with a 'what the hell do you expect me to do about it and, by the way, isn't it time you got that can opener working?' expression on his face.

I put a parental arm around Trev's shoulder, had a long chat about the role of cats and mice in society, we watched a few Tom and Jerry episodes (maybe not a good idea), but he seemed unimpressed.

I phoned Mrs TPF and explained the situation, telling her I would have to buy some traps. I could hear the ice cubes chink in her G&T on the sun terrace in the mountains above Granada. "You're going to get humane ones," she said, "aren't you?"

That sparked a conversation about sentimental townies and suchlike and in the end I caved in. So I'm off out tomorrow to get half-a-dozen Snap-U-Like Neckbreakers and a big lump of Cheddar. You won't tell, will you?


Puffincentral said...

I have extensive experience of mice (unfortunately.) They tend to avoid anywhere that smells of cats, so if you can get rid of the current infestation, you may be lucky enough not to be disturbed by them in future (although on a farm, that's a forlorn hope.)Humane traps are a waste of time. You can let them out, Born Free fashion, miles away and they'll follow you home. Sorexa brand mouse-bait is the best product I've used. Put it on e.g. cottage cheese pot lids, under things e.g. cupboards and keep replenishing till the bait is untouched. They will go away to die so yr livestock should be safe. If you use traps, bait them with what the mice are eating. They tend to ignore cheese and bread dries and falls off the spike: we always used soap, as that's what they liked to eat under the kitchen sink.

fiwa said...

We had mice last year. Interestingly, in our family it was ME that wanted to get the snap-the-neck devices, and my husband who wanted to go with the catch and release variety. Of course, I also wanted him to clean up after the snapping-of-the-neck, since this was very obviously a job that falls into the (insert male anatomy here) job category. Having control of cleanup duty, he won, and now our local park has a thriving mouse population.

And you know not to use the sticky paper stuff, right?? And peanut butter works great in traps.

smart said...

I used chocolate spread in my inhumane mouse-trap - worked a treat.

Arabella said...

You can get an oven from Boots? Delivered? Do they still have the circulating library?

ziggi said...

you'll be sorry when you're starving

ziggi said...

although there's more meat on a rat and if you've got mice you've most definitely got rats - happy days

Malc said...


"I have extensive experience of mice" - love that phrase. Thanks for the advice. . . intrigued by the soap.


Yes, I reckon the only way forward is to be brutal.


Chocolate spread - Nutella?


I know, it confused me as well. I'm going to Comet for my shampoo next week.


You may not believe this, but there are no rats on the island. "They just don't thrive," was the answer I got when I first arrived. That's why the rabbits are so cocky.