Wednesday, November 15

The Rodents in the Cage in My Head.

This is a photo of a sewing box DJ made for me about 12 years ago. I saw one on Joyce's blog, & though the lid is different, it seems to be the same pattern.( Sorry, Joyce, I havent got the hang of inserting the links!)

I am starting to get little panic threads tingling in my mind, & the result is an infection in my upper respiratory system, & a sleepless night.

The little rodents are running in my head, round & round the cage!(Not really, but that is what I call my now-&-then sleepless nights)

I may even have to resort to making a list for myself!! Only 3 days left before I go!

I am not sure what woke me, but I thought it may be a mouse. I cant see any evidence of one, but they are sneaky little critters. We used to have a real problem with them, but havent seen any for a long time. We had a wooden pergola, & the rodents seemed to use that as a freeway into the roof cavity. Since we had the pergola replaced with a metal one, we dont have the problem.

When we lived in the Inner City Hotel in New Zealand, we had a massive problem with mice. But it was a while before we discovered we had the problem.

There had been a large biscuit factory close to the Hotel, & when it closed, I suppose the huge mouse population had to look for alternative accommodation. It is not a pleasant thought!

The hotel we lived in had 3 stories, & was a very old stone building, approximately 125 years old. It had had a colourful history, & as it was situated across the road from the river that ran through the city, it had been used as a morgue when the bodies of drowned unfortunates, floated down the river. There were two Hotels right close to the river & it was the law in those old days, that they had to be available as morgue facilities, until the body was identified or taken to a funeral parlour.

We were quite sure the Hotel was haunted, but that is another story.

By the time we lived in the Hotel, it had been turned into a Tavern, so there were no guests. During the first year we lived there, some of the rooms on the second storey were used as a hostel for staff at other Hotels, but that was run separately from the Tavern & we had no contact with either the staff or the caretakers. There was a staircase, with outside access, which was later boarded up, & there was no access to the upper levels except through our flat.

Our quarters ran across the front of the second storey, & we had 5 bedrooms, a huge lounge with a nice kitchen attached, bathroom, laundry, & a huge area I used for storage, & sewing. There was a huge closed in balcony, like a gallery along the front of the flat, & it was a lovely suncatcher in the cold winter.

One evening GOM (who was HYPH Happy Young Publican Husband) had gone off to bed & I was watching TV. I heard a noise in the kitchen, & got up to investigate. Imagine my surprise to see a mouse scuttling in the cupboard! I removed all the contents of the cupboard, & I could see a hole at the top of the cupboard, where the mouse had gained entry, & dropped down into the cupboard. I grabbed an empty jar, & snatched the mouse up, & put it in the jar.

I put the lid on the jar, & went into the bedroom to show HYPH. He was appalled & shrieked at me to get it out of the bedroom- even though it was safely in the jar!! I asked what he thought I should do with it- his suggestion was "Throw it into the Carpark". Which was just below our gallery. I couldnt bear to kill the wretched thing in such a cruel fashion, so I had a think about it.

I couldnt believe HYPH was so squeamish about the mouse. I suppose I had thought he would deal with it. WRONG. "Dont bring it near me!"

I remembered we had a bottle of some ether in the bathroom- you could freely buy ether at the chemist in those days, amazing as it seems now. (We had got it to take sticking plaster off my poor mother. She had broken ribs & the silly Dr had taped her up with elastoplast, & it nearly killed her trying to remove it.)

So the little light clicked on in my head, & I got some cotton wool & soaked it in the ether, then popped it into the jar- mousey went to sleep. So, I settled back down to watch TV. More sounds came from the kitchen cupboard. Back I go, snatch out another mouse! Into the jar with his mate.

By the time I had caught 9 mice with my bare hands, & despatched them all in the jar with ether, I realised we had a real problem! HYPH was trying desperately to pretend he had gone to sleep, but I could see him shuddering under the blankets- coward!!

Next day, we called an exterminator, & were thoroughly shocked at how many mice he caught! He would come once a week, & leave with a huge box of bodies. He set traps with 8 inlets, & they were always full at first. He told us that since the biscuit factory had closed, all the businesses around had a real mouse problem. As our flat was the only access, to the upper storey & the whole back of the second storey, we saw the masses he removed from the Hotel.

He told us mice carry so many diseases, some fatal to humans. I would certainly never let my children have pet mice, after the information he gave us. He also told us they breed a litter for food, if there is no food available. The damage they had done to the vacant rooms was astonishing, & they would eat almost anything, even the crumbling plaster on the walls.

Our son is a real softy, & hated to think of the mice being killed but when he learnt about the disease factor, he was not so horrified, but he tried not to think about them.

Our children have memories of being really frightened in that old building. I dont think I realised at the time just how spooky they found it. We had some very odd experiences while living there, & a lot of the customers could swear there was a ghost who lived in the Lounge Bar downstairs.

Who knows... but I swear I used to see a ghost in our lounge upstairs, often. Still, I would rather see a ghost than a plague of mice!!


joyce said...

We deal with mice every fall, I think it's part of country living. I have never had as many as you describe and I have NEVER caught one with my bare hands. And never will! They do make a terrible mess even if there is only one or two. I hate the little critters.
Your box is beautiful, and I think better made than mine. I have a lot of hot glue that doesn't show up in the picture. I made sure of that. Lol.

Bec of the Ladies Lounge said...

Wow - I don;t think even our HarryTheAttackCat could have handled that plague.

I love the box!

Alice said...

Whilst living in Western Victoria in 1970 there was a mouse plague. The Milkbar owner in nearby town used to remove all the sweets from his shop each night and lock them in his car - it was the only place free of mice. We drove home from Ballarat one night (about 200klm) and I counted more than 700 mice scurrying across the road in the beam from the headlights - just think how many I didn't see!

Fortunately, we only encountered two mice in our house, whereas many houses would catch at least 30 per night. I don't like mice, but I hate rats even more.

My float said...

I can't stand things that scurry around on little clawy feet. Brr...the sound makes my skin crawl. I think you're right - ghosts are far preferable to mice!