Thursday, October 05, 2006

Rat on a stick

Get 'em while they're hot! They're lovely!

Winter wetness sprawls across this Welsh land, and so it's time to dig the exercise bicycle out. We have one of those gerbil wheel devices that clamps onto the back wheel of the Horse Doctor's mountain bike. It also has some electronic gubbins that plugs into the computer and does all sorts of clever stuff like virtual reality bike races and cross-training exercises. You can even race yourself over a course that you've done before, which is really depressing when your old self beats your new one into a cocked hat.

In the course of making the spare room suitable as a home gym, I first have to evict the cat.

that's a double bed, by the way.

Mistress Buddug has long since decided the spare bed is not spare at all, but hers. I sometimes pity the poor people who (very occasionally) come to stay, especially those with allergies. I do hoover the bed before making it up, but it's got to be saturated with essence of Maine Coon by now.

So I stand the bed up on its end, then drag that holey blanket box into the corner. It's an IKEA number, and like much from the blue and yellow superstore, it's not quite as good as it looks. As soon as I try to move it, the bottom falls out and spills folded jumpers onto the floor. There's no such thing as a five minute job.

So, a little bit of carpentry is in order, but first I have to remove all the folded jumpers and put them in a neat pile to one side.
There's three or four layers of thick woolly jumpers that never get worn anymore. When we lived in Roslin, the house was cold and the heating inefficient. Since the Horse Doctor is a keen knitter, I've accumulated a big stack of jumpers over the years. This house is warm, even in winter, so the jumpers languish unloved in the holey blanket chest. They are all folded neatly and The Horse Doctor is very particular about how things are folded, I'm not allowed to do it myself. So I am carefully lifting them out, placing them in a neat pile to one side, when right at the bottom, I find a dead mouse.

No Timmy, he's not sleeping. He's dead.

Now usually when these things die in the house, there's a nasty smell that alerts you to their presence, but something in the jumpers must have wicked all the moisture out of the poor creature and at the same time killed off any bacteria that might have thought about turning it into so much goo. Buried deep in the holey blanket chest, there was no way that flies could get to it and lay eggs, so no maggots either. Just a perfectly preserved, desiccated mouse. It would have done an Egyptian mummifier proud.

stiff as a board

It's most likely that Mistress Buddug brought the unfortunate beast in as a token of her esteem for the people who look after her. She does like to play with them until their batteries run out, then perhaps eat the head. Or the middle bit. But sometimes they escape. Judging by the collection of chewed out seeds and woolly scraps, this one had survived a long time before the grim reaper came a-calling.


Blogger Gabriele C. said...

That's quite some cat up there, if the bed is a double. :)

October 05, 2006 4:48 pm  
Blogger JamesO said...

No, Gabriele, she's just a kitten, really. Five kilos of fluffy monster kitten, but just a kitten.

October 06, 2006 9:23 am  

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