You can tell the weather has started to get cold. All the little critters from the garden are trying to get into the house.
One of the bonuses of rural living is that the garden is alive with wildlife. Our little garden has seen badgers, hedgehogs, pheasants, frogs, mice, shrews and even the occasional sleek-coated rat. They’re all welcome in the garden. Taking care to make a nice environment for the little animals and the nesting birds is my main excuse for doing so little gardening in the first place.
One of the down-sides of rural living is that, at this time of year, the house is alive with wildlife. One year a frog bounded in through the front door and was most unhappy when it was coaxed back out into the cold. A mouse got itself trapped in the garage once. There isn’t much for a mouse in there, but it shredded everything it could find to make a nest, it destroyed a tasty sachet of energy drink powder it found in a cycle pannier and it chewed a lot of tiny holes in a tube of grease for no apparent reason (with the predictable comedy consequences next time I went to squeeze the tube). Every year, small mammals find their way into the roof space. None of them are welcome in the house. I can’t seal off the roof space, but I can make it pretty unwelcoming for them with traps. I don’t like seeing a dead mouse any more than anyone else, but I do like it a little more than having a live one chewing random things in my house.
So this morning we were woken by the annual scratch and patter of the new arrivals burrowing in the loft insulation and generally making themselves at home. I’ll be having to clear the traps for the next couple of days and then they’ll be gone again. In the meantime, we’re not getting as much sleep.
I do my writing in the precious hour or two in the morning before I have to head off to my day job. A regular routine that is, for me at least, the only way to work through a project as long as a novel. This morning, groggy from a broken night’s sleep, I chose to stay a little longer in bed. I blame the mice. No writing got done.
So, when I’m asked why I haven’t finished writing my next novel yet, I shall say the mice ate it.