Our house was overrun with mice when I was a child. It was my fault. Even though I learned at a tender age how to tell males from females, I never anticipated the onset of puberty in my pet mice early enough. So at one time I had 49 mice in a variety of different cages and at interval loose in the house when they escaped.

My favourite poem was one from my mother’s WI magazine. Its first two verses were:

I live in sober Suffolk

In a dim and sober house,

And I share this dim sobriety

With a noble sober mouse.


On an eager April morning

I discovered that the mouse

Had minced a first edition

To lend comfort to its house.

 Of course what appealed to me was her capitulation. She caught the mouse, looked into its eyes of ‘velvet brown’ and (after several verses) let it go:

But all who gaze in velvet eyes

Must pay a settled price

For now my first edition warms

Some newly-published mice.

 Well, I’ve changed. I now have mice, and maybe rats, and they are demolishing my house bit by bit while I look on helplessly.

 Each morning I visit each room in trepidation. So far the tally is:

 Two gnawed holes in the ceiling

Two disappeared loaves of bread (yes, my fault leaving them out).

An enormous, rat-sized hole in the bathroom floor

An Everest-sized pile of carpet nibblings and a non-fitted sitting room carpet.

 But no first editions – yet – so perhaps I’m lucky. Or these rodents aren’t guide-book readers.

Mouse traps are ignored, they tap-dance to the sonic mouse repeller, and I’m at my wits end.

Advice, anyone?



4 thoughts on “Mice

  1. Daniel Austin says:

    My first recommendation is not to use cheese on mousetraps, and second is to try to catch them on a Friday.
    In my last place six years ago, we had mice in the kitchen so I laid live-traps. Researching what to use as bait, everyone said cheese is useless. Top of the recommendations were chocolate and peanut butter, with bread and bacon also suggested. I don’t remember which bait I had most success with myself, but over the course of about two months I caught four mice, and released them well away from the flat.
    For reasons I have never fully established, every last one of them was trapped on a Friday.

    • Hmm. I have my own thoughts about how humane those ‘humane’ mouse traps are. confining a terrified wild animal for hours and then releasing it miles from its companions (and mice are sociable creatures) always seems to me more cruel than my favoured ‘Little Nipper’ traps. But I’ve also heard that chocolate and peanut butter are the best baits. And today’s Friday…

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