Of mice and mice and even more mice

The Jewish Chronicle - - FEATURES -

Back in Oc­to­ber, I re­counted the story of Men­del the Mouse, who had strayed into our house through a hole in the skirt­ing board and pro­ceeded to help him­self to the re­mains of a bagel care­lessly thrown away by our tod­dler, Alex.

At the time, I felt sorry for poor Men­del, who I imag­ined to be a lonely im­mi­grant mouse try­ing to make his way in the big city. So, I didn’t set a trap for him, nei­ther did I poi­son him, but rather, I found this in­ge­nious-sound­ing de­vice on the in­ter­net which emits an ul­tra­sonic sig­nal de­signed to drive ro­dents out of your house.

We fit­ted one. It seemed to work. More to the point, I dis­cov­ered that I was not alone in my mousey mis­ery. I had phone calls and emails from read­ers ask­ing where I found the de­vice, whether it got rid of the prob­lem, what the pack­ag­ing looked like, whether the flash­ing lights were in­tru­sive... Overnight, I seemed to have turned into Which Mouse­trap mag­a­zine.

Any­way, hav­ing heartily rec­om­mended the ul­tra­sonic elec­tro­mag­netic doo­brey, I now feel rather guilty. Be­cause, you see, Men­del re­turned (if in­deed he had ever gone away). Only this time, he wasn’t a lone im­mi­grant mouse off the boat from the shtetl. No, this time it was mass im­mi­gra­tion. Like the streets of the East End at the end of the 19th cen­tury, the thor­ough­fares be­tween my kitchen units were sud­denly teem­ing with ro­dents. And truly, they had stum­bled upon a Gold­ene Me­dine. There was more chal­lah than they could pos­si­bly eat (at least, un­til I bought a huge Tup­per­ware con­tainer in which to park my loaves) and they were reg­u­lars at my cor­ner gro­cery shop (where Weetabix and Shred­dies seemed to be their favourites).

Sud­denly, I was left with a choice. I could ei­ther leave the mice to pros­per and mul­ti­ply — af­ter which they would pre­sum­ably mi­grate to the sub­urbs and go into the pro­fes­sions — or I could take ac­tion to repa­tri­ate them.

You see, that’s the trou­ble with my metaphor about Yid­dishe im­mi­grant mice. By tak­ing the de­ci­sion to con­front them, I would be­come the Oswald Mosley of the ro­dent world, march­ing de­fi­antly through the East End of the kitchen. It was also com­pli­cated by the fact that four-yearold Lucy had taken to car­ry­ing her furry mouse toy around with her wher­ever she went, in sol­i­dar­ity with the ro­dents.

Of course I didn’t want to treat them like ver­min. But, then it oc­curred to me that they were, lit­er­ally, ver­min. They had to go.

The crunch came a few week­ends ago at around about 1.30am when my wife, Jo, woke me to in­form me that she had heard some­thing scratch­ing around in the bed­room. So started a two-hour quest to hunt down the mouse which would have made a silent com­edy clas­sic. There we were with fry­ing pans, try­ing to nail the mouse as it adeptly shot from un­der the bed to be­hind the wardrobe, then to the book­case. Ul­ti­mately, as we were about to ex­pire from ex­haus­tion, it non­cha­lantly saun­tered out of the door, leav­ing us only a few min­utes sleep be­fore Alex, with per­fect tim­ing, de­cided he fan­cied an early morn­ing.

So in came the coun­cil pest con­trol ex­pert. Rarely have I come across any­one who en­joys his work more. And there was a par­tic­u­lar spring in his step when he vis­ited us. This was be­cause, he in­formed us, that we had one of the most spec­tac­u­lar in­fes­ta­tions he had ever seen. On his last visit, he strug­gled to drag a huge buck­et­load of bait into the house. He also brought along a stu­dent pest dis­posal per­son, there I sup­pose, to wit­ness the phe­nom­e­non of the en­tire ro­dent pop­u­la­tion of En­field all un­der one roof. So what lessons can be learned? Well the first is to save your money on the elec­tronic mice de­vice, and spend it on traps (which ac­tu­ally don’t work ter­ri­bly well ei­ther). The sec­ond is to make sure make you ex­am­ine whether your Shred­dies packet has been gnawed upon be­fore you eat your break­fast. And the third is to never write a shmaltzy col­umn about a Jewish mouse if you may have to ex­ter­mi­nate his en­tire fam­ily at a later date.

Si­mon Round

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.