On Sunday night, I got an e-mail from my friend Kathy at Restoration Place. (Kathy, I would reply, but it's now sitting in a mysterious black box between my old and sad PC and the shiny new superspeed one and I will have to wait for my husband to retrieve it!)
Kathy complimented my cat Barney on his general gorgeousness and how he has grown since I first posted about him. He looks, she commented, like a good mouser. Oh no, I smiled to myself, not Barney. Gorgeous? Definitely. Fluffy? Beyond a doubt. But not the brightest cookie. I didn't reckon his chances of catching a mouse.
However, it turns out that Barney also read the e-mail (I can think of no other explanation) because first thing yesterday he appeared at the cat-flap with a large, furry, comprensively dead mouse in his mouth. I responded rapidly by locking the flap and shouting at him until he took his offering elsewhere. He dropped it just outside the living room window, in full view. In one of those crazy, grab every opportunity, home education moments, it seemed like a good idea to point the dead mouse out to my children, who were duly fascinated.
Returning to the window later on, I was peturbed to see that the mouse, the dead mouse, had gone. A large stick was lying near its not-so-final resting place. My children's shoes were in a heap by the back door. Apparently a dead mouse is one of the most interesting things in the world and they had only picked it up with sticks and not touched it, only its tail. It hadn't gone, either, it was on the outside window sill. Indeed it was. I expressed my unhappiness with having a corpse at such close quarters and my hygiene concerns over their playing with the mouse. Indignantly my daughter, who clearly thought I was over-reacting, informed me that mice are not that bad and that some people swallow rats whole. I refuted this but she was adamant: her brother had told her. On further questioning, I discovered that these rat-eaters were in fact sailors on Ferdinand Magellan's first crossing of the Pacific Ocean, who had been at sea for three months and were also cooking and eating their boots! (Although why they cooked the boots and not the rats is a thought that has only just occured to me.)
I was impressed at that evidence of good connections made, and, after all, isn't that what education is all about? I was also very glad when my husband came home and removed the mouse to the end of the garden!