It’s three in the morning and I wake suddenly, disturbed by the sense of something wicked happening a few feet away from me. Paranormal activity? Every nerve fibre’s pricking and I hold my breath and keep very still under the covers. And there it is again; the tiny, but blood –curdling sound of claws scratching at plaster. Tom’s snoring quietly beside me, but I can’t bear to listen to this on my own.
Muffled protest. He carries on sleeping.
Loud protest. ‘What?’
‘It’s outside,’ Tom says, snuggling down.
It’s true that a party of magpies have taken to tap-dancing on the flat roof of the bedroom’s dormer window but they’re much clumpier. The scratching becomes more insistent; now it sounds as if the horrid creature’s got a pick axe and is close to breaking through.
‘That’s not outside,’ I insist.
Eventually, Tom agrees that we are not alone. It seems that the two dead mice found curled up so forlornly in a socket by our electrician in July have live relatives. In July, however, when the house was being taken apart in the first stage of renovation, I could accept the occasional mouse or two might have wandered in to explore the cavity walls and ceiling voids. Now that many of the gaps have been filled by new wiring and smooth plaster, I’m not at all happy at the thought of little teeth chomping through them.
‘Humane traps,’ someone suggests on Twitter, ‘take them to a field and release them.’
Hmm, maybe that explains how we’ve acquired our new guests; our house is surrounded by fields! Clearly all the mice that other people have released there have skedaddled over and re-homed themselves!
Research in B&Q suggests that this is a common problem in west Wales; there’s a bewildering number of solutions – shelves of it. I quite like the idea of the electronic repeller that uses ultrasonic sound to drive them from the house clutching their little ears, but it’s an expensive option so we reluctantly choose a more traditional method. The next night there’s no noise. At all. Have the mice gone quietly or are they just playing hard to get?
ePainting is ‘Fuchsias’ by Tom Tomos