Friday, 26 June 2009

At theological college...they didn't teach us how to...

...get rid of mice! They, and I assume it is "they", have had fair warning.
In Dublin there was plenty of talk about where we'd end up and what kind of rectory appealed to us. A modern house had much in its favour. Easier to heat, to clean and with fewer structural problems. Indeed, the first house I lived in as a curate was a very, very attractive bungalow. Somehow the local mouse village heard that it was bigger than I needed so they moved in to join me. Their main community was behind the fridge but intrepid explorers found their way into most of the rest of the house. Those who like late night walks behind the skirting boards were perhaps the most annoying but we learned to live in a kind of peaceful co-existence. If they were spotted then that was the end of them; otherwise they could continue their secret lives undisturbed. From time to time a careless mouse wandered into the main room and Eliot insisted that they played with him! Whether they died from heart failure as his great paw descended - or from the blow of that same paw - I'll never know. Either way the mouse ended up dead and Eliot confused!
Some ordinands thought that they preferred country with traditional style. And my last rectory was a delightful looking late eighteenth century building with walls so thick that they'd repell a tank - but not the mice! Gaps and fissures everywhere made the rectory a paradise for the little creatures. Interconnecting roof spaces and wide skirtings were perfect for all sorts of nocturnal activities. Hob nailled boots were kept in the roof space above the bedroom so that they could dance with enthusiasm on the ceiling. Eliot worked manfully (or dogfully?) at catching them but, since we lived way out in the country, there wasn't a lot of hope that he could keep on top of the population growth. There were traps everywhere, including in the kitchen cupboards and drawers, and there was a steady stream of dead mice deposited in the bin. The local bats must have enjoyed living in that area and always looked sleek and well fed.
If both modern bungalows and eighteenth buildings have mice - what about an early twentieth century semi?
It has them as well. There was evidence in the "duster cupboard" a few weeks ago - but Eliot had a good sniff around and it appeared that all was then well again. He seems to have lost interest in catching flys and chasing mice. Perhaps at age seven he's beginning to settle down
However, back to the mice...a couple of days ago I discovered a little hole in the dog food bag which is kept in the boiler room. Hmmmm.... It looks as if there's quite a family tucked away behind the shelving. So, notice has been served. If you don't get out in the next few hours the traps are going down. Actually, the traps are going down anyhow, as I don't trust the mice to leave of their own accord! A friend suggested that I baptise them and they'll never be seen again...but I'm not sure that they'd even turn up for the service, never mind the series of preparation classes.
Other friends said that I should use Mars bars, nutella, bacon rind, Veda....unanimous only in "don't use cheese". I suspect a hungry mouse would eat anything - for goodness sake they eat plastic to get to dog food! And how appetising is that? The method that I reject totally is the gooey paste/glue where their feet get stuck and then you come along and clobber them. No thank you!
So college, among all the things you teach (and many of them have been very useful) you might consider a course in the treatment of mice, and other beasties. Is there a "Church of Ireland Approved" method for getting rid of MICE?

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