I have been working full time the last two weeks. That means I take my own lunch, which I usually organise the night before. So Thursday night I put my lunch — a sandwich in a ziplock bag, some dried apricots in another bag, some rice crackers, all bagged up and an apple, the apple — on the kitchen table.
Friday morning I packed my lunch in my bag. It was only 7 o’clock and I was rather bleary eyed. I work at a holiday programme and this day we were off to Fun City, full of noise, people and activities like laser tag. I ate my sandwich at lunchtime while keeping my now wide awake eye on the kids. I hunted around my bag for the apple, but it wasn’t there. I only had a small amount of brain space to think “Funny that I didn’t pack it, as I know I got one out last night”. After that my brain was back counting children and making sure all was okay.
I looked at the table when I got home. No apple, just a few, very small pieces of dried skin. Again I didn’t think much of it, just collapsed into the comfy red chair to drink the cup of tea the Fella had made.
Fast forward a few hours. The Fella had gone to bed and I had moved from the comfy red chair to the comfy couch. I was partly reading and partly nodding off, because I am not used to 7:30 starts any more, when the wind and rain picked up. So I was in a dozy state, subconsciously listening to the noise of the wind rattling the window and the rain dripping down the down pipe, when I realised I was hearing a different noise as well.
It sounded like leaves on the side of the house. Then my dozy brain woke up a bit more and I remembered that there wasn’t a tree on that side. I was fully awake now and followed the direction of the noise to the fireplace. Our house is an old place and not only has an old mantelpiece, but also has parts that need some attention, like the 2 cm gap between the bottom of the mantelpiece and the floor. It is a gap that is big enough for a mouse, but not big enough for an apple.
I know because that was the source of the noise and solved the mystery of the disappearing apple. There was a mouse doing a mighty fine job of eating the apple so that it was small enough to take through the gap!
It must have started nibbling on the table, hence the apple skins, only to have it roll off the table. What happened next is up to your imagination. If you have a Beatrix Potter mind, you will see the little mouse rolling the apple across the floor, around the lounge room door to the side of the fireplace. The little mouse might even have been wearing a waistcoat. If you have a Death to All Rodents mind you may see a horde of them converge on the apple and whisk it across the floor, around the lounge room door and to the fireplace. They would be covered in tattoos and piercings!
Strangely, we have not seen evidence of the mouse before. Annoyingly, we have a couple of neighbourhood cats that seem to find our house an irresistible party place. What’s the point of them if they don’t keep the mice away?
So now I am off to mouse proof the pantry, to make sure that all food is safely away from little mouse teeth.