Need to know: The mission

Sometimes it can take a camcorder to trap a mouse in your kitchen. Matthew Sweet presses paws

ome missions you formulate yourself just for the sheer gut-twisting challenge of it all. Others are suggested to you by the editor, and you say, "Yeah, great idea!" just to humour him and hope he'll forget he asked. But the most difficult sort are the kind that get thrust upon you. Especially the ones that begin with a scuffling under the floorboards that means you've been forced to discover whether you're a man or a mouse-killer.

The first step was to ascertain whether the strange presence I'd half- detected in the kitchen was a bona fide rodent in residence or just a delusion brought on by eating too much unpasteurised cheese late at night. "We need video evidence," I decided.

"We want to get rid of him, not get him his own series," countered my partner, Nicola. But I laid out some cheddar on the lino, set up our primitive black-and-white camcorder and went to bed. The bait was gone the next morning, and I merely had to fast-forward through six hours of the kitchen floor to observe the intruder in action.

The picture was Crimewatch-perfect. At about 4am, a small figure in a dark coat and big round ears came lolloping from behind the washing machine.

I've watched this minute-or-so of footage a hundred times. He scutters towards the cheese, picks it up in his jaws, and then leaps like a gazelle back to his bolt-hole beside the Phillips Whirlpool 948. It's pure ballet. Now it was time to consider our options. Could we co-exist with him? Possibly, but he might eat through the wiring and electrocute us all. In that case, could we kill him and claim self-defence? "Let's exhaust the humane options first," advised Nicola.

So it was over the road to PetsMart to browse in the rodent-trap section. Rather perplexingly, this is not located in the mice and rat department, but in the middle of the horse and pony section. (For those who've never visited a branch of PetsMart, all you need to know is that it's like KwikSave, but with animals.) After a few moments deliberation, we plumped for a non-splatter device that could ensnare up to three mice without harming a hair on their heads.

Three completely stupid mice, possibly. After this item had spent several weeks on our kitchen floor without a bite, it became time to consult our landlord, Les. He has a cottage in France that has so many rodenty interlopers that, he says, you can hear the traps snapping away all night. His answer was a bag filled with noxious-looking cubes of green poison and a vicious little trap of the Tom and Jerry variety. "Put some of the poison down as well," he advised, "then they'll eat it and come over all drowsy and just wander into the trap ... "

That night, I followed his instructions. But next morning the cheese had been extracted from the trap without setting it off. "That's a good sign," breezed Les. "It means that soon he'll get overconfident and - snap!"

He was right, of course. But the stiff little corpse I found in the morning didn't fill me with a sense of victory. Quite the opposite, really. And I remembered how, about 40 years ago, my gran accidentally buried alive Mr and Mrs Tumpy, her neighbour's hibernating hamsters. She still feels guilty about that - and, unlike me, she hadn't drugged them and broken their necks.

And what happened to Mousey? He went straight into a Tesco's Bag for Life, and then the wheelie bin. Mission accomplished

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Plant Fitter - Construction Industry

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This well established construction equipment d...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

    Recruitment Genius: Factory Operatives

    £7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This high quality thread manufacturer ba...

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Day In a Page

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
    A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

    It's not easy being Green

    After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
    Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

    Gorillas nearly missed

    BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
    Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

    The Downton Abbey effect

    Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
    China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

    China's wild panda numbers on the up

    New census reveals 17% since 2003