On Saturday, we spent hours and hours clearing the end of the garden. It’s a wilderness down there, beyond the hedge. Home to the compost bins, huge piles of branches from fallen down trees, and several heaps of leaf mulch in various stages of readiness for the veg beds, it’s like something from an adventure tale. The kids used to play down there when we first moved in, and there used to be home made pirate flags hanging from the trees, and scary KEEP OUT signs daubed (in blood?) on bits of wood. There was a makeshift camp made of branches and rope, where they ate biscuits and crisps and made plans and squirted water pistols at the trains innocently rattling past.
A perfect childhood hideaway. They’d come in hours later, exhausted and muddy and by that time, fighting and crying, but they’d had fun.
Now though, nature has well and truly taken over, as it always will, and it needed sorting out in readiness for the new fence. (Remember those handymen who came to mend the shed? They were good! They arrive tomorrow, with a skip).
I knew one thing before we started. Where there are piles of wood, there are bound to be mice. I’m not mad keen on rodents, that’s for sure. But I’m not afraid to tell you that in some darker days, I once did a course of brain training, or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (for various reasons). CBT was the best thing I’ve ever learnt! I highly recommend it. It helps me every day, even now. And before the CBT I was phobic about mice.
After some intensive brain work practicing and practicing being gradually and systematically exposed to mice – through pictures, videos, visits to pet shops, and even through Emma who found me a dead mouse to observe and draw (thanks Emma! You are a patient friend), I finally got to a stage where I can catch a mouse in a pot if the cats bring one in (and they do). You know – pot over mouse, slide cardboard underneath, try not to get the tail sticking out, hand under cardboard, hand on pot, lift. Shudder! But I can do it.
I even feel sorry for them, poor wee mites, and like to take them back to the woodpile from whence they came, in the jaws of the cat.
I didn’t want to meet one unexpectedly though. And thankfully, I didn’t, though they were surely there, centimetres from my gloves.
PS: there *was* one in the kitchen later on. And where there’s one…