Saturday, August 01, 2009

First catch your mouse

A couple of days ago, the Horse Doctor was away on an overnight in Cardiff.* That meant that I had to feed myself. No change there, as I always do the cooking, but without the Horse Doctor to worry about, I could indulge my own culinary preferences. As is often the case in such situations, I didn't push the boat out and cook something extraordinary; quite the opposite. The standard plummets when I've no audience, and a quick look in the freezer revealed a half dozen Cumberland sausages, which would do just nicely.

A few roast potato wedges and a dollop of ketchup completed the ensemble, and I settled down to watch the last two episodes of Torchwood that I'd recorded weeks ago and never quite got around to. This then is the high standard I set when there's only the dogs to complain about my slovenliness.

Fast forward to bedtime, and I was tidying up the kitchen prior to heading upstairs. There were a couple of sausages left over, still in the cooker and left there to cool down. Nothing like cold sausages and English mustard for lunch. Still, the weather is warm and wet, so I decided it best to transfer them to the fridge, lest they go furry overnight. I popped open the cooker door and slid the tray out, only to be confronted by two beady eyes, twitching whiskers and a very startled expression.



Mr Mouse seems to like sausages too. He'd already nibbled away considerable patches from both, but before I could catch him and remonstrate, he scurried away, disappearing into the gap at the bottom where the gas burner is. From there it's a simple scuttle out to the floor, and then down the crack between the floorboards and wall and into the basement.

Now I think it's fair to say I can't blame Buddug for this one. Unless it's a descendent of any she brought in for the dogs to play with over a year ago. But it's furry, small and squeaks. It leaves little black nuggets of pooh all over the kitchen. It has to go.

But first I have to catch the little bugger.

I set a trap the same night I came face to face with it, of course. Baited with a little of the sausage it was so obviously enjoying. Come the morning there was no sign of a death frenzy; the trap lay unsprung. So I divided the remaining sausages up between Mac and Haggis and thought about what to do next.

I've been told by many people that cheese is not a good thing to bait a trap with, despite the stereotype of mice the world over. Peanut butter is supposed to be catnip to them, so to speak, but since I won't allow such perverse a comestible into my house, that's not an option. Chocolate, too, is supposed to be popular amongst the musculid brethren, but experience has shown me that expensive 75% cocoa solids dark chocolate is not particularly effective. That's normally the only chocolate I have in the house, which may seem a bit pretentious but... well is a bit pretentious, to be honest.

Fortunately, I had a Mars Bar left over from my recent driving activity. I don't know why, but when travelling long distances I find it essential to have a good supply of cheap and nasty chocolate bars to hand. Something to savour as the miles pass boringly by maybe. Anyway, whatever reason, there was a Mars Bar in the fridge, and I felt like eating it with my afternoon mug of tea. Being a forward thinking fellow, I pinched a bit of the chocolate and caramel off, baited the mousetrap with it, and shoved the whole lot deep behind the cooker. That would catch the little bugger, for sure.

Ten minutes later, as I was sitting in my study staring idly out the window (which I can't do in the morning, otherwise I'd have nothing to do in the afternoon), I heard a distinct 'snap!' It even had an exclamation mark. Aha, I thought. Gotcha.

Now mousetraps, for all that they are generally efficient, don't always kill instantly. Whilst this particular mouse had deprived me of my cold sausage luncheon, I felt it deserved only death, not a needlessly drawn out and painful death. So I sprinted upstairs to effect any necessary dispatch.

I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised, really, to see a dachshund pawing at it's face and looking decidedly sheepish.*** Somehow he'd managed to get that long nose of his in behind the cooker, in search of delicious chocolate, little know just how badly it bit. At least he didn't actually have the trap dangling comically from his whiskers. That I would have been forced to photograph.

Beside the cooker used to be Mac's favourite place to lie whilst I am in the kitchen. When it's on, it's a welcome source of heat, and there's always the possibility of fallen scraps, either deliberate or accidental, to be snapped up and gulped down. For the last two days he's been studiously avoiding it. Like you would a long-standing friend who suddenly turns out to be a member of the BNP.

I've still got to catch the bloody mouse though.

*which sounds a lot more exotic and interesting than it actually is.**
** or at least I hope so.
*** no mean feat, when you think about it.

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