04 Sep Pest control
A slight movement caught the corner of my eye. Could it be a floater, one of those dark dots that swim around in the shadows of one’s vision from time to time? Too big. Definitely this was something in the outside world.
Did a mouse just dart across the sitting room floor? Tiny, grey, fluffy, terrified. It found a corner to try and hide. Definitely a mouse.
We speculated about how it had got in – its ‘ingress’ as the pest control professionals would put it. Quaint how those formal, dated words cling on in certain scenes of daily life. Like the instruction to take all your belongings with you or mind the gap when you ‘alight’ from the train. How do non-English speakers work that one out? Is there some rule about those words? Do they sound more serious or intelligent than the plainer alternatives?
I digress at the thought of ‘ingress’.
Back to our mouse.
No holes in the skirting or floorboards, no gaps around vents, no obvious routes for cute little vermin to use. Maybe it just got bold and hankered after a big adventure and came right in through the back door. That’s been open all day most days these long summer months. Maybe it’d been casing the joint. Definitely the back door.
The strategy was: shut the doors to the rest of the house; tempt it with some cheese; while it’s absorbed in munching on the mature cheddar, pop a box over it; capture it; release it outside – far away from the house. Definitely a good strategy. Apart from the cheese. I’m really not sure about the cheese.
Chased the little blighter around. It kept disappearing. Has it gone up inside the sofa? Is that even possible? We moved all the furniture – shameful deposits of dust, but no mouse. Finally found it at the kitchen end (one long through-room in our house), hiding behind a large bag by the back door. Need a new strategy.
Keep it in one part of the house; block its ‘egress’ (getting into the jargon now); face it down. I pulled books off the shelves onto the floor to build a barrier that this itsy-bitsy beastie would not be able to climb. Two volumes of the Oxford Dictionary on Historical Principles (what else?), a fat thesaurus, a few fatter dictionaries, some cookery books and an atlas or two. The Complete Works of Robert Burns would have been appropriate, but I couldn’t reach that shelf without taking my eye off the mouse.
Big books make excellent barricades. This mouse would leave by the back door or have to eat its way through the English Language, Nigella Lawson and a several hundred pages of world maps. A quick, seemly exit or a massive education? That was the challenge I laid down to the timorous wee beastie.
A twitch of the nose, a tentative toe on the threshold of the back door, and, I’m sure, a quick look back at me. Eyeball to tiny eyeball. The chutzpah. Off it tottered, away to some other abode with nicer nibbles, better hiding places and racier reading material.