Strangers in the Night

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?’
‘Shhhhh!  Listen!’
 ‘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


Fennie said…
Can offer now wisdom other than to think that the old song about sausages could be better adapted to modern times as

Two little fat mice, some electric cable they began
Sizzle, sizzle, sizzle, one went 'bang!'

But the trouble is that all else might go bang as well.

I suppose a goodly store of cake in a warm outbuilding might induce the blighters to stay away from a crumb-less house.
Pondside said…
Every year at this time we take out the traps. We live in the country, and there's no way to make a house 100% mouse proof. No humane traps - there are just too many mice, and I figure that if they've found their way indoors once, there's no point in taking them out for an airing before they run right back in. We have bought an electronic gizzmo for the upstairs and it seems to have worked very well last season and there are no mice up there this season. Good luck!
Debs Carr said…
We had a fieldmouse that came and went without waking Grumps and literally had to pass his bed! Great guard dog. Rob put down humane traps (won't even kill a spider) and released it into the field. Thankfully it hasn't returned.
Frances said…
Chris, you've shown me another signal that it's autumn round your place.

I am not too sure that I would limit myself to human traps. I really do value my night's sleep.

Please tell Tom how much I like his neon tubular freesias. Beautiful lines dancing there.

Thank you also for your sweet comment about our meeting each other. I do look forward to the next time, too. xo
her at home said…
we have 3 cats and an electronic mouse thingy we still have mice, I fear it is a hazard of living surrounded by fields at this time of year, fields are cold houses are cozy!!

I suggest gettign a cat or two but ours catch them outside and bring them in to eat. Perhaps outdoor mice taste better than home grown ones?
Milla said…
your mice are our spiders and, yup, I blame the field. But since the field will one day (soon?) be built on even I would prefer the spiders. E is anti the sonic things - but then he sees a brain tumour link in everything. Why can't the grotty bits of nature just bugger off!!
New font, young Chris, had to fumble for my reading glasses. Getting old :(
Preseli Mags said…
We're surrounded by fields here and get the annual onslaught of mice (and spiders) too. We put traps in the house (mice chewing through wires is a fire hazard) but humane traps outside in the polytunnels (which is where the mice seem to head once they've got the message they're not welcome in the house!)
5 cats = no mice.
How are you flower?
Jenny Beattie said…
Yikes. Noisy enough to wake you up? My suggestion is that you get them slippers...

No good? Uhm, ear plugs?

(I do hope you find an inexpensive solution.)
Shirley Wells said…
We're surrounded by fields and when our cats were young, they often brought in live mice. It's impossible to sleep if you know there's a mouse about. I think we had 6 humane traps at one stage. Thankfully, the old cat can't be bothered. :)
Flowerpot said…
Having a cat, I';ve never had that problem but do sympathise. Perhaps you could borrow someone else's cat? Good luck Chris!
Chris Stovell said…
Thanks everyone, I really appreciate your help and it's clarified the thinking. I understand that the electronic gizmos work best if they're in place before the mice take up residence... in the meantime, we'll have to deal with this year's intake!
Fred said…
Apparently they need to be released more than two miles from where they're caught otherwise they'll return, but why anyone would want to spare their lives is beyond me. There again, I'm a hard hearted old baggage.....

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