|These are the only mice I like. Inanimate ones.|
A few weeks ago, I arrived home from a (rare) night out to find the babysitter sitting on the stairs. All the downstairs doors were closed. Wide eyed, she announced; ‘There is something I need to tell you.’ Fear ran through me. Then the punchline, whispered with a strong Polish accent; ‘ You have a mouse’.
I am ashamed to say I feigned my total surprise. I‘d had a sneaking suspicion that there might be a rodent (or two), after hearing scuttling paws running away across the laminate when I’d entered the kitchen. I don’t normally lie to people, but in this case, I felt it was necessary. The babysitter is also the cleaner, and a rather squeamish one at that, and I didn’t want her to resign. (Heaven forbid, that I might have to clean my own house!). However, after she had been scared half witless by a mouse running out from under the sofa, and therefore an official mouse sighting had been made, I hung my head in shame and started to take the matter a little more seriously.
Call the Rat catcher straight away? No. I reached for Laptop. The Internet, fount of all information. The guilt prickled though me as I read that mice can carry diseases that are hazardous to humans. (Typhus, trichinosis, and jaundice- in case you were wondering.) Why this was a surprise I do not know, had I forgotten, um…the plague? So, contrary to my original thought that they were just harmless furry friends who would probably scuttle away quicker than you can say ‘fire’ once we begin our building works, I decided more prompt action was required.
I say prompt action, but it seems that there is obviously a boom in pest problems around here, the uninterested lady at the council informed me that there would be a 3 week wait before we could have a visit. Oh, and that we would also be charged a hefty sum for the pleasure. Obviously our council tax does not stretch far enough to include ‘rodent protection cover’.
Yesterday, the Pied Piper from the council arrived in his liveried van, which was a useful way of notifying the neighbours that we have an infestation of some sort. What a cheerful man. He clearly loved his job, and whilst pest control and extermination would not be my career choice, I very much enjoyed hearing about the life of grime. We had a most interesting chat about how he deals with wasps, fleas, bees, rats, coachroaches and bedbugs. And foxes. But only dead ones. (If you have a problem with a live fox, you need to seek help elsewhere.)
He confirmed that there was a small infestation. Under strict instructions from Big Daddy (kind, gentle man) I asked the question, ‘ Is there any way of getting rid of them humanely’? I suspected not. Yes, not. ‘This is the humane way, love’ he said as he laid little white boxes down with food in them. ‘They have a big last supper and then they go off for a long sleep.’ Oh.
‘If they die will they start to smell?’ I asked. Apparently not. It seems the last supper has some mummification agent in it which stops that. Thankfully, he is going to make a return visit to pick them up. Then they will make their way to the mouse crematorium.
The Pied Piper then delivered a schedule of preventative measures needed to stop the mice visiting Faulty Towers again. It seems that most of the time, they just walk in through the back door from the garden. He recommended a ‘mouse board’ that goes across the back door when it is open. (I am sure they don’t sell those in Robert Dyas?). Some steel wool, to stuff into the cracks outside - the little blighters only need a space 5mm wide to squeeze through. And 'mouse mesh' to stick over the air bricks.
This weekend is going to be spent boarding up the Mouse Motel. There’s alot of cracks in this old house. I think I’m going to need alot of steel wool.