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"Just finished reading 'A Blues for Shindig'. Well worth waiting for. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The whole ambience is so convincing, and the characters - well, I was right there with them. Wonderful. Why hasn't this book had more publicity? I'm curious - is it semi (or wholly) autobiographical? If not, you have a hell of an imagination, girl! Thanks for many hours of laughs and tears." Chriss, Nov 2011
I begin to wonder about my life before mice. They have become a fascinating part of my life. I could do without them very easily but the sheer volume of material they have supplied makes me feel I owe them one. I also reckon that mine are exceptional mice. We seem to be running a kind of hotbed scheme with either myself or the mice in residence at any one time. Not exclusively of course, there is the case of the stock cube orgy. I had been making some soup that day and whacked a stock cube in – along with the herbs I get in jars from my love’s sister near Turin and ancient veggies, new veggies and a bit of this and that. I am rather good at soup I’m told but that might be to keep me cooking. Anyway I enjoy it, it makes me feel I am taking part in a rural idyll – odd because my raw materials come from Aldi ( We all need our illusions!) anyway I must have left the top off the glass jar that I keep stock cubes in (because the thought that the mice got together in a team and removed the top is far too worrying) I was putting the washing on when I noticed nasty brown marks on the counter.
I investigated further and found eight cubes chewed at the corners and evidence of the little mothers in the jar. I emptied it out and saved the damaged cubes with a view to putting them in mouse traps. That was the day I bought ‘humane’ traps. I tried to set the wretched thing, caught my finger and it didn’t feel even remotely humane to me. They are now empty on the window ledge, I had hoped that my cleaner may care to take responsibility for mouse murder and I think she would but she had caught her finger before and refused. Then I saw no evidence of them for a few days, though the guy next door swears he hears them in the wall (his paranoia or my loss of hearing?) I know they make their way from house to house under the floorboards so I endeavour to keep a food free kitchen, the stock cube slip up was an aberration. But I know they are around. In fact they have a taste for plastic which might mean they are building nests or they are rather dim mice with eclectic tastes.
I spend up to four days at a time in London and when I go home I am greeted with a powerful essence of mouse, pungent and unmistakable. The little varmints have been in occupation in my absence. As I enter the kitchen I sometimes see a mouse in fast motion tiny and fleet of feet, it scuttles away in the direction of the back door though I have blocked all holes – I think. I am convinced that decamp when I am home but they have frequent recces
to suss out if I have made a slip up of the stock cube variety. I imagine them alarmed at this large creature invading their territory and making it her own. I expect mice have different time scale to human beings and four days allows them to settle in nicely then along I come to disrupt them. I will get some of the traps that they walk into next and take them walkies to the river – but the river has big rats to imperil their safety. A cat seems to be the answer but the Cameron cat turned to be a non combatant cat so there are no guarantees. I shall report back.