As the nights get cooler fieldmice try to find a place indoors and mine was the lucky winner for one of these tiny rodents. But, a man’s home is his castle and I was not enamoured of the thought of sharing my castle with this intruder so a trip to the local hardware store was called for.

“Mouse traps?”

“Yes, there’s a display over there.”

I began to realise that my castle was not the only one to face invasion. The display was huge. There were what I would call the traditional old type traps that despatched the mouse efficiently but left you with the cleaning up of the mess, sound devices that were supposed to deter the invaders before they got a foothold, poisons that sounded deadly, which, of course was their job, and a humane trap that enabled you to trap the mouse and relocate it in the morning.

This last one sounded just the job for me after all when I was a Scout I acknowledged that ‘A Scout is a friend to animals’. I’m not sure that included pests that invaded one’s castle but it gave me a way out from being an assassin.

I followed the instructions and put a dab of peanut butter in the trap — up to that point I didn’t know that mice liked peanut butter — and set it up before I went to bed.

2-30am and I woke as the door on the trap clicked shut. Job done, I thought and rolled over to go back to sleep. But, the captive had other ideas and began trying to eat through the plastic door. It was not possible to shut off my loft bedroom from the kitchen down below so I was well aware of the noise drifting up the stairs. I felt a little sorry for the mouse but even sorrier for me as I could not get back to sleep. Eventually my sleep starved brain whispered, “put it outside” so, while apologising to the prisoner I put his cell outside the front door.

And, so to sleep. In the morning I was pleased to see the trap still there — I’m not sure how it would have disappeared — but felt a bit guilty when I realised it had rained during the night but those feelings passed as I realised the cell would be quite waterproof.

I scooped up the trap, hopped into the car and headed off to a suitable paddock where I opened the door, the mouse popped out and, squeaking, ran off into the grass.

Now the job was done. But, would you believe, every now and then during a cool and drizzly day I found myself wondering how ‘my’ mouse was getting on.

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