Him Behind The Wheel became the Mouse Patrol Officer this morning. That meant getting the ladder out of the garage through the snow and climbing into the loft to check the poison. (Sorry, No way can I cope with human traps.) Count today – 3 dead mice, poison still intact but needed filled up a little bit.
Musophobia is the word for me – I learnt it on someone’s blog. Something deep inside me just cannot cope with the poor little creatures indoors. If they are outside I have tolerable coping strategies, though I don’t like them running over my feet. A site dedicated to musophobia – which kindly does not show any pictures of the little animals – says this about phobias:
Phobias are believed to be developed by heredity, genetics and brain-chemistry combine with life-experiences.
As a child I used to be able to handle white mice, there was a craze of them as pets at my primary school. The boys used to bring their pets to school then produce them from their pockets in the middle of lessons; interestingly, most small girls screamed whereas I was bold enough to handle the said white mice. In secondary school I made myself handle the white rats. Perhaps I could do this because they were white, they were clearly pets, and didn’t come under the general heading of vermin.
When I am in the garden I can look at a cute little field mouse and feel OK, but a mouse running across the kitchen floor, or jumping out of a cupboard sends me spare. The one time I managed to stay in control (ie not jump on top of a chair) was whilst taking a church service. I was busy up the front when all of a sudden a mouse ran out from underneath my long robe (horrors to think of it sheltering there) and ran away to seek refuge under one of the pews. The Elders being ordained at the time gawped, and I managed to carry on with only a laughing comment as interruption.
As you have no doubt gathered, my experiences with mice over the years has been chequered. I first remember them being hunted in the post-war prefab where I grew up in London. (These were the forerunners of timber-framed houses nowadays and were badly needed to replace areas that had been bombed out in the blitz of WWII.) The cat was duly sent into the nether regions where the boiler connected with the hot cupboard and mice came running out in all directions with Mother shouting like a banshee and Father wielding a shovel. There was no alternative but to hop about or jump on a chair. Aha! So that’s where the urge comes from.
In later years, HBTW and I plus an ever-increasing family moved from house to house and every time there was the worry of whether there would be mice or not. An old Manse (Church house) was one of the worst. The little loves used to creep out at night and raid the dogs’ biscuits, leaving their traces in amongst the little dog’s covers. (Yes – she was a cairn, in case you’re interested.) My wonderful helper, Joyce, used to shake the covers disgustedly, say “Yeuch!” before she threw them all in the washing machine yet again.
Nowadays, we live in a 25yr old bungalow and to date, mouse activity has only been in the loft and the garage, where the boiler is. Oc course, when the cat was alive he would bring in specimens from time to time – not helpful – I thought cats were supposed to eat the mice. However, he liked to be the bringer of gifts. One place I do treat with caution though is the compost bin corner. I am reliably informed that mice are attracted to the heat and even HBTW has been known to nearly jump out of his skin on occasion.
So – no pictures of house-mice in the comments please; I am simply grateful that Mouse Patrol is over for another few weeks.