Saturday, 12 November 2011

Scratch, Scratch, Scratch

No, I've not got fleas. This was the sound coming from the walls of our converted garage. My master was watching the new Ricky Gervais comedy, 'Life's Too Short' on his leather recliner sofa when the noise started to irritate him. No, not Ricky Gervais' voice. He wondered if his expensive in-wall speakers were starting to fuzz distortion (not that it really sounded like that). Declining the recliner, he rose and crossed the room to listen to the speaker. The sound stopped. He waited, ear to the mesh. It started again but not from the speaker. From the wall way below. It sounded like scrabbling. Something was trying to scrape their way into the house from floor level. He had one thought: 'Mice'.

He summoned the mistress, who was lounging in the living room watching a recording of 'Downtown Abbey'. I came along too, as my body heater had annoyingly departed the couch. We all listened and she freaked as the noise returned, this time further along the wall and clearer. Demands were issued to search the cupboard under the stairs, then the kitchen cupboards, then behind the living room sofa. Check for any signs of entry: mouse droppings, nibbled cartons, scurrying vermin. I hoped she was talking to him and not me. If there was any nibbling at cartons to be done I would volunteer, but I would much rather use my time cuddling on the sofa. Her body heat was heaven.

After a quick inspection, revealing no evidence of invasion, the mistress then pondered where might be open to buy a sonic deterrent. Would Asda have any? The master was not keen or approving of such a visit. He doubted Asda would have any anyway, never mind a 'range of appropriate products' ("I've never seen a rodent deterrent aisle in Asda"). B&Q was closed. Could we risk waiting till the morning or would we be overrun?

I sighed. They were mice. It was nothing to worry about. They'd mess up like they always do. Worst case scenario: they'd nibble an electricity cable, get frazzled and the alarm clock radio wouldn't work, causing the humans to sleep in and I'd get a late breakfast. What we hadn't to do was panic and buy (or borrow) a cat. I wanted to be very clear on this. This is a one pet home!

Then I wondered if they was the same mice that had nibbled their way through the cabin central heating pipe. Had they followed our scent all the way from Aberfoyle or hitched a lift in the exhaust of the mistress' 4x4? Were they planning to become house mice instead of field mice? 

Then the master leapt in the air, roaring like a frustrated Hulk, and landed with a massive thump, making me jump out of my coat and bark alarmingly. What was he playing at? Had he crushed one underfoot? I sniffed around his feet and realised there was no mouse (but he may have athlete's foot again - the irony in one so unfit). He shushed both of us and we all looked silly, standing like statues, with only one of us pricking up their ears to signify listening. The noise had indeed stopped and didn't return

He waited up for a few hours just to check and I got some extra time under the duvet before being sent to my own bed. Quite what he would have done had it returned I'm not sure. He couldn't go bouncing up and down all night. He might break the weakened floor boards and collapse into the foundations if he did. Then the mice would have a massive entry point into their new winter home.