Flindt on Friday: Of Mice and Memories in the Attic
We always joke that the mice seem to know when the clocks change and while we’re all downstairs we say, “Of course it really is six o’clock. Or is it eight. Or nine? ”They pack their little mouse suitcases and make their way to the attic of the farmhouse.
But this year was remarkable. The distinctive pitter pattern of tiny feet began the very next night.
I can just sleep through it, turn up the radio a little, knowing that a few weeks of intensive fishing is enough. And after clearing out some lovely old skeletons and doing a mass reset with a new chew bar, I thought I would win.
See Also: Video: How To Take An Integrated Approach To Rodent Control
One night, however, the pitter pattern was replaced by a pomm-pump when something dragged itself across my ceiling.
At 3 a.m., the mental list of potential animals up there can be dramatic, adding some hard-to-digest peanuts after puberty. Rat? Squirrel? Aardvark? Spiny Anteater?
The next morning a mouse was trapped in an attic room, its eyes bulging with a funny but deadly shock.
I forgot the chew bar so I decided to show up later and reset everything. When I got back it was gone. Not just the mouse – the trap.
As if that wasn’t enough to scare the living Bejeesus out of everyone, I was sure I could hear something moving deep in the jumble of life that fills these creepy rooms.
I made a careful retreat, back on tiptoe, ready to fend off any attack, with only half a Krunchy Krisp Bar as a weapon.
It was time (I decided when I made it safely downstairs) to clear out the attic. It’s time to stop harboring that fearsome animal up there.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. What do you clean up and what do you leave behind?
My collection of car and tractor brochures – hoarded for over 35 years – cannot go away. You will be worth something one day.
Mind you, Dad thought so with his great collection of first day covers that you can buy for pence on eBay.
My university and high school examination documents? They are reminiscent of a more academic era, but the intricacies of thermodynamics and hydrology seem to be escaping me now.
There are old hi-fi equipment – Garrard decks and Sansui amps – and a couple of LPs. EBay again?
Go back in time and there’s a file on my big sister’s Mini Clubman; JOT 166L. There are hockey sticks, cricket kits and lacrosse sticks, Victorian samplers, photos of the London Rifle Brigade (including my grandfather), which finished their march from London to Brighton in April 1914.
At least that’s what Mum said; mind you, she said King Alfred burned his cakes in our attic. My brother repeated this in a history lesson and still has the flying duster bump.
Once you’ve cleared a room, you need to stop and think. In the time of the farmer John Spencer, several servants lived up there, who descended via a now lost staircase to the kitchen (and of course to the outside toilet).
Mama was always happy to show us how to lock the men’s sleeping area from the outside. Hard but fair. It’s a sad piece of that old house that was once busy but is only used as a storage room these days.
The ceiling is calm now. The attic is bare. The beast has moved on. But if wheat prices keep going, we’ll be hiring a dozen domestic servants again and filling the attic.
And when the mouse / monster comes back – well, we saved ourselves the hockey sticks.