18th April 2007
You know Spring has sprung by the pile of dead wildlife on the rug on the landing. In our house anyway. This morning N’s last job before rushing out to the world of work was to swathe the large mouse, head hanging off, in loo paper and take it out with him. I trust not to work. Interesting little desk toy? It was bad enough him coming to kiss me goodbye, bending over the bed, one arm outstretched with dangling headless mouse in hand. He could have put it down first. Ah the romance of it all.
We got back on Saturday night and L comes running into the bathroom, having just washed feet and bottoms in the bidet, and says in her four year old voice, ‘Mummy, there’s a mouse on the mat! I put my foot on it and I thought, in my head, “that feels funny” and I looked down and it was a dead mouse!’ Another headless one. Wash feet again.
Green Thumb turn up at lunchtime to do their thing with the lawn. Young chap asks if there’s anywhere where he can get water. ‘Oh yes, no prob’, says I, taking him round the back of the house to the outside tap on the terrace. ‘Just take…eargh, God, MOLLY!’ [enters stage left with a knowing look on her whiskery face]. Our feline friend has deposited a headless rabbit at the bottom of the steps right under the tap. Red gore and something large and jellyfish-like spewed from the bit where the head should have been. No sign of head. A delicate little meal of sweetbreads and brain washed down, no doubt, with a nice chianti. It paints a charming picture. Even the youth flinched, especially when I suggested that, when he had his gloves on, he might like to chuck it over the wall for me. I haven’t been out to check. He did tut-tut though about the celandine creeping onto the edges of the lawn.
Back to kills. I’m frankly intrigued by the whole business of it. It seems to be either heads or tails. Either eaten or not. ‘Oh YUCK, Mummy look, there’s a mouse head on the mat!’ is a frequent cry at breakfast. One day it was just the tail of Bunny, one foot and the gall bladder that proved unpalatable. Every now and then just a tiny little vole’s tail lies tellingly outside the glass doors. Outside, though, is one thing. Inside, quite another. Many a morning I have laid bare foot to the floor to have something soft and squidgey go up through my toes. No heads, no tails, just guts. Or the rampant rabbit kill that missed the rugs and was instead splattered all over the carpet and up the airing cupboard door. But I think the worst was the one left on the new carpet twixt sofa and coffee table. From a distance I was alarmed enough to think it was a big pooh, but on closer inspection it was pretty much an entire rabbit, furry bits and all, neatly regurgitated in the form of a salami. It clearly never even got as far as the stomach but had been nicely rolled in the oesophagus. It was horrific. Molly had obviously bitten off a little more than she could chew with that one…
The other worry is what lurks under rugs and beds. My mother once commented that there were a few dusty old carcasses under their bed, and another memorable time I threw back a rug to do some uncharacteristically thorough hoovering, only to find a thoroughly flattened small rodent – its eyes like a plaice, legs akimbo. It would have made a very good mat for the doll’s house. I was amazed in a number of ways: 1) How long it must have been there to get so marvellously pressed, 2) How, when peeled away, there weren’t any stains on the carpet, 3) How no-one had noticed it underfoot in the days when it was still 3D and 4) How shoddy my housekeeping skills clearly are – it must have been there for months!
Right, better go and check on that rabbit.