The end of Guinness

Guinness Pint

Guinness Pint (Photo credit: Stephen Edgar – Netweb)

We discussed it at length and decided that we didn’t want one. We had one at our previous place which disappeared causing us to both be very upset. It was cute, but messy, especially when the woman from the letting agent came around to inspect the place.

The very next day after we made our decision, there was a knock at the door.

My family was outside bearing exactly what we decided we didn’t want, a kitten. It was the tiniest ball of fur you have ever laid eyes on, no bigger than a mouse. Jet black in colour with dainty white feet and a white bib under her chin. Her most distinctive feature was her eyebrows. They were fine, silvery white and arced out high above her head. We fell in love instantly.

“What are we going to call her?” asked my wife.

She offered a few unconvincing kittens names but I wasn’t persuaded. The name needed to fit and as she lay on her back on the floor with her white paws  up, she resembled a miniature pint of Guinness and so she was christened.

We were a bit worried at first because we already had a kitten called Tommy in the house that a friend asked us to look after whilst she was away. Tommy was twice the size of Guinness and was strong-arming her as they played. We needn’t have worried though because what Guinness lacked in size, she made up for in spirit. After they played for a short while, Guinness got the upper hand and from that point on, there was no more bullying.

Guinness was with us for a long time and it’s fair to say she had her fair share of quirks. Like she chose to use the dirt tray that lay just outside the bathroom in a particularly smelly manner when I was relaxing in the bath. She also would choose to noisily slurp out of my cup of water on the bedside table when we were trying to sleep. I used to say to my wife that I would die of some vile horrible cat disease because of the shared cup. She was incredibly good when any children came round, patiently allowing them to tug, prod and poke her with barely any protest.

But after 17 years, we returned to our home to find Guinness very sick indeed in my mother in law’s arms. She wouldn’t eat or drink. She couldn’t walk. We took her to the vets and the news wasn’t good.

Guinness is no more, which is sad. Very sad.

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We have an uninvited guest

Two mice; the mouse on the left has more fat s...

Two mice; the mouse on the left has more fat stores than the mouse on the right. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“What’s that noise?” I said to my wife one evening whilst we were watching TV.

“What noise?” she replied disinterested.

“There – can’t you hear it? A kind of scratching sound.”

Together we crept around to the kitchen to see if we could find the source of the noise. Anyone would think we were trying to catch a burglar in the act.

Eventually, we traced the noise to the medicine drawer. We exchanged “get ready” looks as I carefully grasped the handle of the drawer. I yanked the drawer open and scanned the interior.

I could see nothing but medicines, but judging by my wife’s scream and the way she was clutching my arm in a vice-like grip, she had obviously seen something. I slammed the drawer shut as fast as I’d opened it.

“What did you see?”

“A mouse!” she screamed.

I carefully eased the drawer back open to check the scene of the crime. I watched warily, for truth be told, I am only slightly less squeamish about rodents than my wife. The mouse had gone, probably scared off by the slam of the drawer, so we could sift through the contents. The mouse had eaten its way through an entire pack of paracetamol.

Confident that no mouse could eat that much paracetamol and survive, we thought that was that. However, our mouse is made of sterner stuff.

You would think that having a cat in the house would be sufficient deterrent against our rodent friend but unfortunately, mouse hunting is definitely not part of her job description. Lazing around on furniture – yes, miaowing a lot – definitely, making a nuisance of herself – indeed but absolutely nothing about rodents.

It was a while later when I went to feed said cat when reaching inside the cupboard containing her food, instead of coming across a box full of cat biscuits, I found a box with a big hole chewed in the side lying on top of a pile of cat biscuits.

The mouse had returned.

This time we were ready. Having invested in some mouse traps, we should now have the upper hand. Traps duly placed, it can only be a matter of time before our furry friend is an ex furry friend. Unfortunately though, not only can our mouse eat a whole ton of paracetamol and survive, he also has the survival skills of an SAS soldier and can spot a trap a mile away.

The hunt for this mouse is in danger of taking on Captain Ahab proportions.