Friday 24 December 2010

Not a creature was stirring

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse...
(Clement C Moore 1822)

Well, no, actually, let's rewind a bit, because that's not quite true. In fact, it's not true at all.

For starters, two teens were well and truly stirring; wide awake and active in that annoying way that teens have of being topsy turvey with their body clocks.

For second, Conker, our pet hamster, was grinding down her teeth on the bars of the cage; only pausing long enough to stuff a small piece of apple into her pouch.

And for third, the mouse was most definitely up and about.

Yes, really, I did say mouse; as in small rodent, big ears, likes cheese, multiplies extremely quickly...

Perhaps I should explain.

It all began on Tuesday at around 6.30am. I was lying in bed, all warm and snug and cosy and peaceful, rejoicing in the fact that I didn't have to get up and go to work, when I heard a rustling. It wasn't a very big rustling, but it was definitely a rustling; a sort of scratchy rustling; a sort of persistent scratchy rustling!

After quite a long time of trying to ignore said rustling, I reluctantly dragged myself out of the delicious warmth and snugness, into the freezing cold air of the bedroom and began to glue my ear against various bits of wall, floor, furniture, cupboard... definitely cupboard.

I opened the door and the rustling stopped.

OK, I know! It stopped because the thing making the rustling was now wondering what was letting in all the light and should it be afraid, but you have to understand that I was cold and the bed was still just about warm and snug and cosy, so I managed to persuade myself that the rustling was just the adjoining neighbour rooting in one of her cupboards at half past six in the morning and now she'd stopped and all was OK and I could go back to bed, immediately! So I did!

All was well until Wednesday morning, when I lay in bed all warm and snu... You get the picture!

Except this time, I couldn't persuade myself that Mrs K would be rootling in her cupboards at the crack of dawn AGAIN. Instead, I reluctantly decided that I had to empty MY cupboard. This is a pain! That particular cupboard is where the hot water tank used to live, so it is big and deep and it happens to be stuffed to the brim with books and papers, files and folders, photo albums and teaching resources, maps and music. Disgruntled, I unloaded it all onto the bedroom floor, the piles growing bigger and more unstable around me, until I pulled out a shoebox full of tourism leaflets and finally uncovered this...

It's a hole!; a hole which disappears into the cavity wall between my house and my neighbour.

And I didn't have to wait long before the source of the noise appeared. A small brown nose with long brown whiskers, small beady eyes and large round ears, poked out from the depths of the hole and studied me carefully. Then, with a whisk of his tail, he was gone.

The hole was easy to photograph. It took rather longer to capture the mouse, but...

I got him in the end.

Today, the hole gets sealed, and I start being able to walk around my bedroom again without falling over piles of stuff. Mr Mouse will have to find somewhere else to rustle and scratch.

Meanwhile, maybe we can get on with the poem. Now, what did I do with those stockings?


  1. Oh what a delightful story! And what a cute little housemate. Seems a pity to have to discourage him/her but obviously you have no alternative. Makes such a lovely story though!

  2. Lovely story! Having cats I know what it is like to be awakened by 'rustling' in unusual places. Luckily now they are older they don't bring them in anymore - the days of emptying and moving a wardrobe at 4a.m. to catch a hiding mouse have long gone! Merry Christmas:)

  3. What a smashing post Helen. Happy Christmas to you and your family. Your blog was one of my great discoveries of 2010 and I look forward to many more wonderful posts over the coming year.

  4. Great storytelling! I'd love to see more of this in 2011. (Weirdly enough I just got off the phone with a friend who had a mouse issue on Tuesday too. Cat got it.)

  5. Oh, they're a pest. I had one in my bathroom cupboard and it ate soap bars! I'm a coward and just do nothing and hope they'll go away - and they seem to. No doubt it was seeking out a warm spot.

  6. What a wonderful post. This made me laugh...and feel kind of creeped out, all at the same time!