Welcome to Bishop's Tachbrook

A Winter’s Mouse Tale

(Originally written for the Parish Magazine by Steve Harvey)

A Winter's Mouse Tale

Over the fields skylarks sang as the warm air was drawn up from France. November and the ivy is covered with myriad flower clusters playing host to honey bees, bumbles, flies, wasps and a Red Admiral, all enjoying the last nectar banquet of the year.

By the end of September Redwings are usually arriving from Scandinavia. This year I didn’t hear their “Seep. Seep” calls until the end of October. Fieldfares travel with them but I didn’t hear their “Chuckling” calls until early November. The Summer must have been extended over there like ours, so I guess they delayed their flights.

Always nice to have the Blackbirds return to the garden. After nesting they always disappear to live off the fat of the land, now it’s getting colder they return to our gardens for easier pickings. European Blackbirds will soon join them so getting your beak into a well-stocked garden takeaway is very important.

Instead of looking for wildlife it came looking for me. As Kate, me and Bob the cat sat on the sofa watching David Attenborough, a particular favourite of Bob’s. Uncharacteristically Bob sprang off the sofa and dashed to the bookcase. He tried putting his paw behind it with little effect. We moved off the sofa to help. Each time we moved books and various artefacts a mouse appeared briefly. Eventually we met eye to eye with a rather attractive wood mouse, soft brown with large ears and big dark eyes. We spent a few seconds looking at each other then Kate went for it going in bare handed to get it.

In a death defying move the little wood mouse shot into the air like a tiny ninja, dashed across the floor and behind an unmoveable heavy sofa. We were beaten. Pepper, our other cat, now sat in the doorway with a look of, “Admit it, you were rubbish”, on his face. I picked up the cat food and water bowl, so as not to feed the mouse, before going to bed.

That was a mistake I would pay for. Overnight the mouse moved to the kitchen, as I had expected, looking for food and water. Now with no water to drink the wood mouse had to be inventive to survive.

It was only when Kate ran the washing machine, creating a flood that I found out how inventive! The mouse was desperate for water, it smelt its way to the sump pipe under the machine, and nibbled a finger sized hole in it – clever but expensive. It took a few days to catch that mouse in a humane trap. Again, very clever and ninja like it avoided capture, that is until I used blutack to stick a pecan nut inside the trap. Eureka!
The ninja mouse was mine! If it happens again I will leave that water bowl available. The mouse now lives down in the field with
a tale to tell.