The mouse factory

A computer mouse

I didn’t get much sleep last night, despite going to bed early (before 22:00). You see, our cats, Spot and Smudge, appear to have founded an Ian Banks-inspired Mouse Factory.

During the night they brought in four mice. Well, okay, if you want to get technical about it: three and a half. In they’d bound, with a triumphant yowl: “Look what we’ve brought you!!” There’s a particular tone to the cats’ meows that lets us know that this is not just their usual “I’m back! … where are you?!” The Announcement Meow has a bite to it. Literally.

The farmers have been working with combine harvester machines in the fields to the back of our house, which I’m sure is scaring the field mice out of field and right into the clutches of our delighted and awaiting cats.

The final mouse was brought in around 07:00 this morning, and still alive, if bleeding slightly. I found it cowering in the corner of the living room, and chased the Smudge away. It looked half dead.

I thought I might have to put it out of its misery. (That was a euphemism for “kill it”.) But then it moved. It was still very much alive, albeit in shock.

I couldn’t do it. I’d already fetched a plastic bag and a heavy rock (shaped like a giant hedgehog) from the garden, but I couldn’t do it. I can kill (most) insects (but not spiders) quite readily. Mammals are different.

Jane and I were getting ready for an appointment at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee at 08:45 as part of our IVF preparations. Standing in the living room with this tiny creature in my hand I was vividly aware of both the wonder and fragility of life.

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 46 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Latterly, web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall. Currently on sabbatical. I am a priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, and I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir.

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