Source: The Sun
This time of year, we often get visited by the cutest of guests. They are shy, don't hurt you, and have huge eyes. And are the biggest pain in the butt you could ever imagine.
Dormice. Short for Dormant Mice.
They are indigenous here. They live on the edge of the woods, where bramble and light leaf covering give way to electrical wires and rooftops. This, by the way, perfectly describes our house.
And they love, love, LOVE chimneys. It's so much fun to run up and down them in the middle of the night when everyone is asleep. Unless, of course, the chimney is lined with a steel pipe. Because then, you can't climb back out. That really sucks for the average dormouse.
See, in our bedroom, which used to be our dining room, we have a hole in the wall which is covered with a metal plate. On the other side of this metal plate, there is a pipe leading up to the roof, and ends with the chimney. We used to have a wood burning stove attached to this particular pipe in the wall, and for those of you who know our history, it is the same pipe which led to the wires melting, near room fire and the electrical black out of 2006 while our Australian guests were here.
But back to our story.
Every once in a while, one of the hundreds of dormice which run along our electrical wires makes it to our roof. When that happens, they eventually peer down that dark chimney. A chimney shaft is heaven for a dormouse. They slide down the side of the wall and climb up and down happily, waking up everyone who is not already suffering from pre-menopausal insomnia.
But there is an option B. Mr. Dormouse falls right down the shaft. Which means he is stuck, at the wall plate, on the the other side of it actually, in our bedroom.
Scratching. Panicking. For hours.
In the beginning, we used to open the plate, shine a flashlight on the poor thing, and try to force him out with a spoon. But Mr. Dormouse would get so scared that he would flatten his whole little body against the pipe in a way that he was unreachable.
I have tried everything to coax Mr. Dormouse out. Prosciutto. Reggiano Parmagiano. You name it.
But we have figured out that only one thing works. We open the plate, we shut the lights, we open the windows, leave the room and shut the door. Within five minutes, smart little Mr. Dormouse has found his way out the window and is busy climbing the electrical pole again, ready to start the whole game one more time.
This is what we were doing at 1 in the morning last night. And you?
I can't say I hate dormice. They are an annoyance. But they are cute, and I just want them to go wake someone else up next time.