This was years ago. I was getting the wellies out of the garage for a trip to the caravan. We kept one set of industrial socks in the wellies in those days, another in the yomping boots. This mouse had found a nice cosy nesting place, with a plentiful supply of bedding which only required a small amount of shredding, in one of V's Hunters. I don't know which of us was more surprised, me or the mouse - I'll never forget the expression on its face. It certainly had the quicker reactions, though. V was in the kitchen doorway just in time to see it scuttle away under the cooker.
By the time we got to Wales, there'd been some embellishment.
"The place is infested with voles," our friends were informed.
"Mice, I think," I added sotto voce.
"Voles!" Her voice dropped. "It was not a mouse. It was a vole. Wasn't it."
When we got back home, there were skirmishes. I didn't really want to murder the poor little beasties, but I didn't particularly want them crapping underneath the cooker either. I got some of those humane traps, the ones where the quarry crawls in after the bait and it tips up so it can't get out again, and bought peanut butter specially. Friends were generous with advice.
"You need to take them quite a long way away. They have a range of about a quarter of a mile, like wasps."
"Well, why don't the sodding wasps sting the sodding mice to death, or the sodding mice eat the sodding wasps?" I enquired. (We had wasps as well at the time.)
Eventually I came down one morning and one of the traps was clattering around. Aha. I put it in the boot (not the welly, silly, the car) and drove it up to Prospect Park. I opened the trap and gave it a shake, and sure enough something dropped out and scarpered into the undergrowth.
What still preys on my mind (though not in my kitchen) is that, as I watched it run, it didn't seem to have a tail. I hadn't even opened the drawer where I keep the carving knife. I didn't look inside the trap either. I threw it into the bushes after the vole and went home.
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