It all started with a very small hole in our lawn. 'That's a mouse hole,' says spouse. 'Well, they've got to live somewhere,' says I. 'Not in my lawn, they haven't. It's too near the house. Winter's not far off and the next thing you know, he'll have his suitcase packed and be moving indoors.'
Never a man to let the grass grow, spouse took action and poured a bucket of the water down the hole. Out ran the mouse squeaking in protest, but run out he did. Satisfied, spouse returned to the bottom of the garden where he is preparing a base for his new mega-shed. (No, I'm not going into the ins and outs of men and their sheds, lets not get started on that one). Earlier in the season I had done my bit and gradually dismembered the old trees that were plonked right in the middle of his site and now spouse has to dig out the stumps and level the ground.
No, dear reader, I am not going off-piste again. Old tree stumps and roots are very pertinent to the subject of mice, well they are in our house anyway. Somewhere in our universe there must be a scientific law all about the ratio of efforts put into mouse catching relative to enraged digging to work off the angst of failure at all these fruitless efforts. Failed mouse catching equals frenetic site digging squared. Einstein eat your heart out There's a theory for you.
To return to the mouse. Our canny friend was not put off by his early bath. He soon took up residence again and put a mouse two fingers up at spouse by making the entrance to his home in our lawn even larger. Needless to say, spouse was not pleased on seeing this disfigurement to his swathe of green. More buckets of water were poured down, forcing poor mouse to make another quick exit. Spouse stomped off back to his tree roots and wielded his pick-axe vigorously. No mouse was going to get the better of him that day.
But mouse did. The next morning, a bigger and better hole near to the first one had appeared. Mouse had been busy creating a new and comfy residence whilst we slumbered. 'I'm not having this,' said spouse. 'I am NOT having this.' He gestured to the fields rolling away all around us. 'He's got all that lot to go at and yet he fetches up on my lawn. I think he needs to get the message he is not welcome here.' Please don't wince here, dear reader - you have been warned ... he put a whole bunch of holly leaves down the hole. Yes, I know. It's a real sharp intake of breath moment.
Once more, spouse stomped off to his mega-shed site and his tree stumps and roots. Out came the very, very large axe and the first tree stump was attacked with gusto. It was not long before the whole stump and roots were out of the ground, lying in shreds on the surface. No one messes with spouse and his lawn, certainly not a small brown mouse and gets away with it.
The next day the holly leaves were still in place, the mouse homestead had not increased in size and no new holes had appeared in the lawn. Spouse was wreathed in smiles. Mouse had obviously got the message and pushed off elsewhere. Ah, and there's the rub, dear reader, so he had. He'd taken the initiative and a bit of mouse revenge. Having been booted out of his own home, he took up residence in ours. And who can blame him?
He's up in our loft - snoozing all day and scurrying all night. Spouse is beside himself. He has put down so many mousetraps, humane and otherwise, filled with the most tempting of goodies, even I could go to the banquet up there, but our mouse-friend is having none of it. He is way to clever to fall for any of those blandishments. The more he eludes us, the more enraged spouse becomes and takes it out on his mega-shed base. The pick-axe and mega-axe have never seen so much action. The bottom of our garden now resembles a battlefield with tree stumps and roots lying everywhere.
I don't know who will give in first. Perhaps it will be me. I think it's time I paid a visit to the loft and asked mouse nicely to find other quarters for the winter. If he doesn't, I may have no garden left come springtime..........