A couple of years ago, while sitting here at my pc one evening, I heard a faint rustling sound from deep in the corner behind the computer unit. It was so faint that I wasn’t really sure if it was real or if I’d imagined it, but even though the dogs were downstairs I had the vague feeling that I wasn’t alone in the room. However, I didn’t hear the noise again so I put it out of my mind, but a few evenings later as I entered the room there was a distinct scuffling sound and the very real impression that something had darted across the floor and disappeared into the corner; it seemed that somehow I may have gained an uninvited house guest – a mouse.
Just before going to bed that night I left half a dozen small squares of bread and marmalade on a plate on the floor. I didn’t know if mice like bread and marmalade but I figured that if there was a mouse in residence it might be attracted by a late night snack, and if the bread disappeared at least it would prove that I was neither imagining things nor losing my marbles – and sure enough, when I checked the following morning all but one of the pieces had gone.
Now as much as I like mice, and having one in residence didn’t particularly bother me, it wasn’t an ideal situation – where there’s one there could be twenty one so the mouse had to go, and the sooner the better. But I also had to find out where it had got in, and as it seemed to be frequenting the corner behind the computer unit that was the obvious place to start; not an easy task though in view of everything which had to be moved, and one which would be better waiting until the weekend when I had plenty of time.
So the Sunday morning saw me moving all the books and various boxes of computer accessories, paper, envelopes, laminating sheets, files and plastic pockets from the shelves in the unit, disconnecting and moving two computers, two printers, two monitors and a scanner, and finally moving the unit well away from the wall. It took quite a while but eventually I could see where my little visitor was coming and going; right in the corner the carpet had been nibbled at the edges and when I peeled it back I found a gap between the floorboards and skirting board – not a particularly big gap, but certainly enough for a mouse to get through from the cavity wall space.
After a walk down to the local DIY store I returned with a can of expanding foam which I sprayed liberally into the gap to fill it and seal it, then once the foam had hardened I cut off the excess and put back the pc unit and all its contents. I wasn’t sure if the mouse might have actually been hiding somewhere else in the room though; if it was I would need to get a humane trap, but before going to the expense of buying one if I didn’t need to I decided to leave some more bread and marmalade down just to be sure. I did that twice and on neither occasion was it touched, so the mouse must have evicted itself before I sealed up the hole. Since then there have been no more strange noises or any other evidence of rodent activity so my efforts on that Sunday two years ago, although time-consuming, were obviously a success and my uninvited guest must have gone to live elsewhere.
This evening however I’d not been home from work long when Michael said he thought we had another mouse in residence as he’d heard a scratching noise coming from behind his wardrobe. So I went in his room and we sat quietly and listened; all was quiet for several minutes then we heard it – a scratching noise which was definitely coming from behind the wardrobe. It went on for a couple of minutes during which it got a bit louder, so we came to the conclusion that it must have been a rat rather than a mouse; that was something we definitely didn’t want but I dreaded the thought of us having to move all the furniture to find where it was getting in. Then something made me listen more closely and I realised what it could be – it sounded like someone was using a scraper on the wall in the adjoining room of the house next door.
Just to confirm that theory I went next door and asked, and sure enough it was just as I thought – they were in the process of decorating their bedroom and were scraping the paper from the wall which was back-to-back with Michael’s room. Thank goodness that’s all it was – we can live with the temporary noise of the next-door neighbours decorating but a rat or another mouse in the house? No way!