We first noticed it about a month ago. Scrabbling and scratching somewhere near the kitchen skirting boards, mainly at night. Then, one night, we accidentally left out the insignificant remains of a tomato, chili and pepper pasta sauce. The following morning, a greasy red trail led from those leftovers to the space just behind the cooker. Out came the cooker; off came the kitchen unit kick-boards. Lying on the floor underneath the units, we saw it all: the napkin that had gone missing, now neatly and minutely shredded, a small cob of bread; fragments of kitchen roll….. and mouse droppings.
We bought humane traps. We baited them with peanut butter: so much tastier than cheese, apparently, if you’re a mouse. But we didn’t set them for a few nights, as per instructions. Set or unset, Mr. Mouse ignored them, or extracted the prize and ran safely away to eat it.
Mal spent long hours on the net, watching excruciating amateur videos about making humane traps. He picked out some of the ideas involving tubes, bait and deep buckets and set to. Each night we left collections of baited tubes, unset, over the surfaces Mr. Mouse seemed to use, till one night, we set the trap. Mr Mouse was to scuttle down the baited tube in quest of peanut butter and fall from the work surface into the deep bucket on the floor. Theoretically.
At 11.30, Mal heard a crash in the kitchen, smiled at the thought of a job well done, turned over and went to sleep.
At 1.30, I woke up to the sound of Malcolm having a pee in the bathroom. But wait! Mal was snoring sweetly beside me. I got up. There was poor Mousie, almost drowned, swimming round the lavatory pan. We have no idea at all how he got (a) upstairs and (b) clambered into the toilet. Both awake now, and seeing that Mr. Mouse seemed almost dead, I’m truly ashamed to say we flushed him away.
So Mr. Mouse was no more.
The following morning saw us, despite our agonies of conscience, pulling off the skirting board and hoovering out Mr. Mouse’s flat, which was a mess, frankly, though undoubtedly cosy.
Peace at last.
Until the day before yesterday. In the evening, we heard that familiar scrabbling in the kitchen. Round Two to Mr. Mouse.