20 December 2018

I could hear a little owl calling from somewhere nearby as I tried to get to sleep last night. Just one more advantage of always keeping a bedroom window open.

Feeling cold in the house this afternoon, I decided to cut some Christmas firewood in the garage. I used a combination of electric mitre-saw, axe, steel wedges, and lump hammer. As the old saying goes, when you chop firewood, you warm yourself twice.

Next to the mitre-saw bench is an old galvanised dustbin full of kindling twigs. As I was cutting through the huge, ugly chunk of wood from our former mantelpiece, out the corner of my eye I thought I saw something move in the bin. But, when I looked, there was nothing there. A few minutes later, I turned to see a house-mouse sitting on top of the kindling, staring straight at me. I guessed it was trying to work out what the hell all the bloody racket was about. I took out my phone to take a photo, but the mouse immediately scampered to the edge of the bin and disappeared into the kindling. I resumed my sawing. A few minutes later, it happened again. This time, as the camera-shy mouse disappeared into the kindling, I heard multiple excited high-pitched squeakings. Evidently, my friend wasn’t the sole occupant of the kindling bin.

I guess this confirms our belief that the evening scratching we’ve been hearing in the living room for the last few weeks was originating from the garage. There are gaps in the pointing in the garage wall, which are no doubt letting the mice through into the living room ceiling.

Perhaps the little owls have heard there are mice in the area.

Richard Carter is a writer and photo­grapher living in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.WebsiteFacebookTwitterNewsletterBooks
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