Our first morning at the breakfast table a tiny black blur raced across the floor from the cupboard to behind the sink. A mouse! A mouse! It had been in the cupboard with our food! This will not do! Jasna admitted to having been using the sink the day before and felt something furry brush against her foot….ick. She hoped/assumed that it wasn’t a mouse. What mouse would be so bold as to run across someones foot? This mouse. That’s what mouse.

Since then, we have been on high mouse alert. Eamonn has been seeing mice around every corner (no, literally he has been spotting mice scurrying across the kitchen, bathroom, living room….). We had mentioned the mouse (at the time we were still thinking it might just be one) to Sande. She wasn’t concerned, bait was out (who knows how old) and she hadn’t seen one in the kitchen yet (but in the bathroom was ok).

As Jasna, Eamonn and I were sitting around the breakfast table eating our various forms grains that came from cardboard boxes in the cupboard, we heard the rustle of a plastic bag. No, we thought, it can’t be in the vegetables. Eamonn opened the pantry. He couldn’t see it, but he could still hear it. Jasna peeked into the plastic bags with the cauliflower and the cabbage. Nothing. Next was to check out the bag of potatoes. Sure enough. There was a mouse in the potato bag!

She brought the bag out from the pantry to try and put the trapped mouse outside and save the spuds. Alas, the mouse had gained entrance to the bag by using its little teeth to gnaw through the plastic. It used this same hole to escape and fall to it’s freedom, much to our dismay.

We poured the desecrated spuds into a bucket to see if they could be salvaged. I was rather put off by the little nibbles, I believe Eamonn was outright disgusted, but Jasna seemed to think they were usable after a good scrub and peel. We continued to turn them over. A flash of movement. A brush of fur. Another mouse!

I jumped five feet back. Eamonn was in the other room and Jasna was still in front of the potatoes. Again we attempted to get the potatoes out of the bucket (I say “we” but I mean Jasna and Sande-she had come to investigate at our shrieks) while keeping the mouse in to release it into the great outdoors. With a mighty leap and flailing tail, the mouse made it out of the bucket and to safety behind the stove.

The mice have been seen daily since and become a topic of discussion. One night, the night the new WWOOFer was to arrive, two girls walked in asking about staying the night. A guest! A guest at the backpackers! This was a new event for us. We’d been here a week, and no guest had ever crossed the threshold. Suddenly there were two!

But to talk about a mouse problem in front of paying guests? Not a good idea. Mandy became the code word. Since then, the word “mouse” is rarely uttered.

Today was another epic Mandy event. All four of us WWOOFers were sitting and watching stupid YouTube videos when our furry friend Mandy made an appearance. She was brash today! She mosied from the kitchen and into the living room where she hung out around the fireplace. Jasna made a valiant attempt to catch her with a pot and pan, but gave up upon thinking about the next step after catching it.

Somehow Mandy knew we had given up. That our drive was gone. Our spirits crushed. Mandy climbed onto the fireplace and sat on top of a log in the firewood bucket. Mocking us with her twitching whiskers. In plain view. Grooming her little face with her little paws. What cheek. What gall. We did get sick of this display so we made a racket and she agilely sauntered down the log and into the other room.

Later tonight, I was getting into the pantry to get something to bake a lemon cake. A small grey form amidst the empty canning jars caught my eye. Mandy. I leaned over, my shadow looming over the crouching rodent. She didn’t move. I picked up a wide mouthed jar. She huddled between the wall and another jar. I placed the jar over her head. She squeaked and leapt. It was too late. I had her. I had caught Mandy!

I slide a cookbook under the jar and paraded my catch around the house (all guests were gone so it was ok). How proud I was to have caught Mandy! We all cooed about how cute she was (amazing how mice are so disgusting when they are in and around our food, but so cute and adorable once removed from that). Everyone asked, what are you going to do with her now? I took her on a long walk. We crossed a river and I released her into unknown jungles.

The house is now one Mandy less that this morning. Job well done me.