Monday, November 21, 2005

Monthly Mouse Hunt

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Monthly Mouse Hunt.

Country life is full of surprises. Living close to a Blair Witch wood, a pond, a happy hunting ground and a dog-walking track, the local wildlife of all sorts enjoys a cosy, claustrophobic and unpredictable relationship with us.

Last week the cat woke us a five by making a peculiar tapping sound on the bedroom floor, about two feet from my head. The tapping sound was made by the rhythmic tossing of a mouse against the laminate floor. That was followed by the cracking and crunching noises he made as he devoured it under the bed. In circumstances like this the hair drier comes into it’s own. This weapon of mass cat annoyance was very effectively used to get the cat and his mouse meal out of the house. So far it has been three mice in as many days. The cat is on a roll.

I was wondering if those scientists who are speculating about life on the Blue Moon (Earth’s fictional but likely twin) had thought about eating any of the creatures they had invented. A Blue Moon cookbook might go down well (?). Science Fiction dining and gastronomy: “Skywhale pie, skywhale fillets, skywhale risotto”. Probably best not explored.

On Sunday I was a true gentleman of the road however, managing to warn on coming vehicles of two horses meandering up our road towards a blind summit. All the smiles and waves of gratitude made the effort worthwhile. People do generally slow down for horses. It was a day of mixed fortune as this happened just after the bathroom cabinet fell on Ali’s head trapping her in the room while I chattered on the phone blissfully unaware. Her plaintive cries eventually made it down the corridor and I mounted a full scale rescue operation. A large gin was required to ease the pain. We also found the abandoned mouse nest on Sunday afternoon, obviously belonging to the now digested 5am visitor. The mouse nest was under the fridge and seemed to be in the early stages of construction, our vigilance and respect towards visiting rodents and their creativity is now set at a higher level.

The rabbits in the garden are of course oblivious to everything apart from their own determined eating. Each night they set of the security lights and bask in a floodlit arena of green as they munch their way across what we hope one day will be a lawn. The cat peers at them out of the window and flicks his tail in a kind of concentrated and focused way we assume reflects his thoughts of hunting. So far no rabbits have arrived at the door, unlike at Inchgarvie where a steady stream of rabbits fell victim of our little tiger.

Today I nearly got an Alsatian (and owner) as a result of a half iced windscreen, a murky lane and a slight hangover. I’ll try to do better tomorrow.

The pheasants are just plain stupid and have no road sense or sense of their own mortality; they get hunted by the folks from the estate. We think that hunter’s are out tonight (Ali heard a pheasant impersonator in the hedge) so the cat was brought in early. As Erin had brought her tame but wild rabbit around it was important to keep them in separate rooms, not easy. The rabbit liked the cat’s bed; the cat remained imprisoned in the kitchen munching his tea from an ashtray. The rabbit was surprisingly agile and liked to jump onto the couch and eat portions of one of Ali’s suits or a cushion. It also hid under the TV and enjoyed being rolled up in the cat’s blanket. I accidentally dropped it into its food dish after it had scratched me, after that it seemed to avoid me and did a lot less jumping. She (Pippa) has returned home to her warm hutch and some more Marks and Spenser sliced cabbage, a particular favourite I am told.

So getting back to where I started a monthly mouse hunt looks like being the new thing – for next month.

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