How to get rid of mice

House Mouse

There is nothing quite like arriving at one´s holiday home, dropping the suitcases in the hall, opening the curtains, filling the kettle for a cup of tea and opening the cutlery drawer to be faced with a sprinkling of mouse droppings.   After an outraged squawk I opened the other kitchen drawers to find that the mouse, and what appeared to be its entire extended family (there were a lot of droppings) had decided to use the all the drawers as a selection of bathrooms.  Under the sink they had cunningly constructed the equivalent of a substantial self build property out of dishwasher tablet boxes and a pile of old dusters.  The strange thing was that there was no one in residence and all the droppings were extremely shrivelled and dry.  After a massive clear out and an inordinate number of dishwasher cycles to make sure everything was suitable for use in a kitchen again, I announced that we needed to buy a mousetrap.

There was a stunned silence from the family followed by shrieks of outrage from Teenage Daughter and Son.  “Don´t be so cruel, the mouse isn´t doing anyone any harm!”  It was only when I pointed out that they might not enjoy spaghetti bolognese seasoned with mouse droppings, that they were prepared to consider a trap.  “But it has to be a humane one”.

Anyone who has spent any time in rural France will know that humane mousetraps are like hens teeth.  All the ironmongers stock the good old fashioned Tom and Jerry mousetraps but ask for a humane trap and you will be met either by a gallic shrug or hoots of laughter and some rather choice comments about mad englishwomen.  After a few fruitless and embarrassing shopping trips, I finally tracked down a suitable trap.  It was a small steel box with a door on a spring.  The idea was that we would bait the spring with some cheddar and the mouse would march in, help himself and the door would clang shut behind him.  We would then carry him into the woods and release him wherebye he would swiftly return to the house, which let´s face it, is much more comfortable than a windy, damp forest.

That night, Teenage Son threaded a pungent piece of  cheese onto the trigger and carefully placed the trap in the corner of the kitchen.  We all went to bed and spent the entire night listening for the distinctive clang that would announce that the mouse had been captured.  The next day dawned but the trap was empty.  “As it is a french mouse, perhaps it prefers french cheese” suggested Teenage Daughter.  So she set the trap with Beaufort.  The next day dawned to an empty trap, and the following day.  After a week of fruitless trap setting we all forgot about the mouse and as no more droppings appeared, we assumed that it had found the kitchen rather dull and returned to the woods.

It was only at the end of our two week stay that we found out what had happened to the intruder.  Husband had run out of his very strong Nespresso capsules and went to the cupboard where further supplies are kept.  To his disgust, he found that the mouse had stumbled across the coffee stash and had nibbled its way into every single capsule.  There was coffee strewn all over the bottom of the cupboard but it was clear that a large amount had been consumed.  The poor mouse had probably had to deal with a very bad trip on a huge amount of caffeine.  I can only imagine that having munched its way through so much coffee,  it frantically ran around, suffering hallucinations and heart palpitations and eventually made its way outside, vowing never to return to our house of excessively strong coffee.  The humane mousetrap is now an ornament on the kitchen shelf as a reminder to other potential rodent intruders but personally I think coffee overdose is just as good at dealing with any mice thinking of making my kitchen their home.

Photo. Sourced from the internet for illustration purposes only

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Creakiness

 

 

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One of the wonderful gifts that comes with double digit birthdays beginning with a 5 (or sometimes a 4), is the imperceptible onset of creakiness.  It is just so unfair, I have spent years going to the gym, skiing, running and trying to stay active and inspite of everything, my joints are starting to protest at what used to be perfectly normal activities.  Not so long ago, I would be very happy sitting on the floor crossed legged for hours at a time and could then leap to my feet in an instant to answer the doorbell, or stop the dog from vomiting inside the house.  Now sitting on the floor is vaguely uncomfortable and it can take quite a long time for me to stagger to my feet and return to a vaguely upright stance.  I recently rang a close school friend who answered on the ninth ring and confessed that it had taken her that long to get up from the floor where she had been wrapping a present.

Other symptoms of general decrepitude are also rearing their ugly heads.  Climbing the stairs is now accompanied by a strange clicking in my right knee, completely painless but somewhat disconcerting.   Bending over to stack the dishwasher is fraught with danger as it is quite likely that my back will seize up and I will have to hobble around like Quasimodo until I can get to a physio who will manipulate my spine into unnatural contortions and give me an eyewateringly painful massage in order to straighten me up.  And I am unable to look over my shoulder in the owl-like way that I always took for granted.

I am glad to say that I am not alone in the creaking and cracking of joints.  Husband, who has taken up Ironman triathlons in his fifties, is absurdly fit but after sitting down for more than 10 minutes, springs to his feet but then walks in a strangely neanderthal way for a few seconds until his back loosens up, and one of my best friends was told by an extortionately expensive consultant that the excruciating pain in her big toe was arthritis due to wear and tear and that she had better get used to it!  Not what you want to hear when you have shelled out the equivalent of a Prada handbag.

My physio has prescribed some exercises to try and improve things which involve me rolling around on the floor just after getting up in the morning.  All well and good in summer but I can’t really see me rolling out of bed to lie on the floor when it is minus 5 outside and the heating is struggling to warm the house.  The answer I fear, is to return to the activity that I used to attend before life and excessive travelling got in the way – yoga.  But which type?

A few years ago I signed up to a weekly Bikram yoga class with a couple of girlfriends with the intention of improving our flexibility and general well being.  The 40 degree heat and high humidity took some getting used to, but over a few months we all became far more bendy and able to contort ourselves quite convincingly enough not to have to hide at the back of the class.  The problem with Bikram is the sweat.  It is not just that you sweat buckets, but everyone else does too.  That may be just about bearable if you are next to a thirty something female who showers twice a day.  The problems begin when a shirtless, extremely hirsute, forty something man  thwaps his mat down next to yours  and starts doing deep breathing exercises before the class starts.  You just know that he is going to start pouring perspiration instantly, and not the fragrant type either.  The number of classes that I have spent breathing entirely through my mouth to avoid unpleasant whiffs was one of the reasons that I eventually gave up.

Another alternative is Hatha yoga.  No sweating is involved, although the worry that I might accidentally break wind when I am attempting one of the more challenging poses has certainly brought a gentle sheen to my forehead.  The Hatha classes I have attended have varied from very gentle with long periods of meditation, to what appeared to be a training course for circus contortionists.  You never quite know what a class will be like until you have tried it.  The problem with Hatha is that I very quickly get fed up.  I am so used to exercising in a way that gets me somewhere, with scenery to look at along the way, that staying inside a studio and only having my fellow sufferers to look at makes me wilt with boredom.

However, a quick Google of different types of yoga has given me a list of 20.  Some of the more unusual ones such as Kundalini which awakens the energy at the base of the spine, are probably not for me (see earlier Hatha worry) but there are still 15 or so left to try.  I will therefore be visiting various yoga studios until I find the class and teacher that can get all my  joints moving, keep me interested, not revolted and reach the holy grail of being able to touch my toes again.

 

 

 

Photo.  Sourced from the internet for illustration purposes only