This weekend, in between gardening and being relieved that my teeth were finally getting the right attention, I found myself gazing out of the sitting room window, down the path to where Wol sits. I realised that Raisin - that's him on the left here - was staring fixedly at a point somewhere in front of him Was he admiring the daffodils? Considering whether to come in or stay out? Wondering whether there were any biscuits indoors? Solving the mysteries of the Universe (you never know with cats - they were once attendants of a Goddess after all)! I crept out quietly, through the door and down the path to investigate. As I got closer, I realised to my dismay that the Bravest Mouse in the World was just the other side of said daffodils, sitting on his haunches, staring Raisin down with his little paws and whiskers all a twitch with mouse energy. What to do - what to do? If I moved even closer, mouse might be startled and hop away, leading Raisin to pounce. If I stopped, Raisin might pounce anyway, and I had no desire to watch the Bravest Mouse in the World get eaten. I decided the best thing was to walk, slowly but firmly toward them and see if they would both stop long enough to allow me to remove Raisin from this impasse, meanwhile saying my very best and firmest "NO Raisin" in a loud voice. Mouse ignored me - he was too busy with his cat quelling stare. Raisin, however, sensing there was trouble afoot, thought he'd better grab this meal rather quick. Raisin slinked, I pounced, Mouse sprang away! Hurrah I thought, wrestling firmly with a fluid bundle of indignant, writhing fur, I've saved the Bravest Mouse in the World. I woman handled said bundle of fur into the conservatory - not easy when the door was closed and the handle rather stiff. Placing him firmly in the kitchen, I turned with lightening speed to secure the cat flap. An hour or so to cool his heels while Mouse escaped, I thought. Raisin thought the end of his world had come and paced, wailing piteously from door to door, furious that I'd taken HIS mouse!
Ignoring the overacting, I went back to the garden to repot another tree. After a bit, sure that Mouse would have made his escape by now, and Raisin would have given up the histrionics, I opened the door. Out he bounced, full of feline vigour. Round and round he went, sniffing here, poking there, giving me the best dirty cat looks imaginable. Where's my MOUSE? Aha, I thought triumphantly, he's escaped he has ... hasn't he? .... surely .... but oh WHY is Raisin peering closely at that clump of bluebells next door?
There was a pounce, a squeak and the wretched beast marched triumphantly across the neighbour's lawn with the Bravest Mouse in the World doing his best I'm dead impressions - not very dignified when dangling from the jaws of a cross black cat! My heart sank - perhaps this isn't the Bravest Mouse in the World after all, but the Stupidest. Knowing that prising Mouse from the jaws of death would probably result in terminal injury anyway, I resigned myself to ignoring the playful carnage on the neighbour's lawn and got on with potting my tree - only to realise after a couple of minutes that there was a scuffling and the odd tiny squeak from behind me. Mouse had escaped, was being pounced on, was doing his very best pogo jumps to try and evade capture. Raisin was looking delightedly excited. I raced to the rescue once again, once more grasped the squirming ball of black energy and put him firmly indoors for the rest of the evening. Never mind the wailing, the swishing tail, the bored teenager strop. Mouse must live!
And I guess perhaps he was the Bravest Mouse in the World after all, or at least the wisest. He evaded my best attempts to catch him and put him somewhere safe, hunkered down deep under the geranium leaves where he sat waiting for dark, when all Good Cats are safely tucked up in bed. Perhaps he was a descendant of Hunca Munca who, apparently, came to stay in Hastings, just down the road, a hundred or so mouse generations ago.
I'm very much hoping he's now packed his bags and moved next door to live with Mad Dog Daisy. I'd much rather not clean up mouse remains from the lawn and - Daisy is far too silly to catch a mouse but very good at barking at big black cats!