To a mouse: Why are you loose aboot ma hoose? (And where's my cat?) – Susan Morrison
In 1560, English and Scots forces had the French under siege here in Leith.
Then Marie de Guise died. The allies shouted “game’s a bogey” and the besieged sons of France were allowed to go home.
To celebrate this new entente cordiale between auld enemies, a BBQ was arranged on Leith Sands. The English showed up with roast meats and beer, natch. The Scots rolled up with mutton, cheese and wine.
The French brought dead horse pies and mice on a stick. Being French they probably did something interesting with seasonings.
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The mice of Leith have long memories. They remember their ancestors spiked on skewers by Jacque and co. They peer out from undergrowth by the Water of Leith at the humans, trying to spot the French to exact vengeance by leaping out on them.
Scaring folk on the riverbank is one thing. My living room is quite another.
There’s a moose loose aboot ma hoose. It made its appearance during my spring cleaning. I was hoovering like a demon, trusty crevice tool locked and loaded to tackle the crumb traps in the sofa.
If you’ve just sniggered like Frankie Howerd at the words “crevice tool”, get to the back of the classroom until you’ve matured.
The sofa was pulled apart as I cleared a winter's worth of oose, which as we all know, is stoor with ambition. I hauled the last cushions off the back and boom, we were eyeball to eyeball. Me. And the mouse.
I did not know that people really screamed like that. Given that I had lung surgery only five weeks or so ago, it was impressive. Should have recorded it for my surgeon.
Also, I didn’t realise I could move upwards that fast. Literally crouch-to-five-feet-in-the-air like a sort of short, fat, screaming Soviet-era gymnast. I took a second to admire my landing. It was as sweet as Olga Korbut’s gravity defying bar dismount at the ’72 Olympics. Although unlike Ms Korbut, the cellulite on my thighs was still wobbling an hour later.
The mouse shot under the remaining cushions. This sleekit, timourous beastie was a high-speed pest and it was in my house. And whatever panic was in its breastie was nothing compared to the jack-hammer under my ribs. I could have blown a blood pressure collar clean out the door.
Right. No problem, I thought. Lift cushion. Shoo out door.
The mouse hadn’t read the memo, shot straight past me and tried to get into the sofa. Swift action by me walloping the crevice tool down in its path foiled the pest, but it doubled back and vanished.
It was that moment in Alien. The creature was in the room. But where?
And then I realised that, right behind me, was our cat. The ultimate rodent deterrent was snoring in the sun, blithely ignoring this titanic struggle between woman and mouse.
With a blinding flash a childhood mystery was solved.
The housekeeper in Tom and Jerry. She hated that cat. Even more than the mouse. And why? Because Tom, like Gertie, had clearly adopted a paws-off approach.
That cat had one job and blew it.
Where’s the mouse now? No idea. I bet it's planning to scare me silly again. Feel I’m being terrorised by a Leith mouse and I’m not even French.