12 February 2010

Regularly Scheduled

I have a mouse that comes to visit my flat and run (not very sneakily) across the sitting room floor every Thursday around 10.30pm*. The mouse is rather cute - a brown field-mouse sort of mouse - and over the weeks I have grown used to the mouse's visitations and I no longer shriek at it. I have named it Thursday Mouse because I'm a very original denominator**. I haven't the heart to set out mouse traps though I would rather that Thursday Mouse did not visit and the whole situation makes me miss my cat still more. I wonder if there is something that can be done to discourage him***. Mouse-discouragement powder or similar.

How does Thursday Mouse know that it's Thursday? How does Thursday Mouse know that it's 10.30pm? And how does Thursday Mouse know that that means it is time to visit me? I haven't been able to find a mouse hole and so I wonder how Thursday Mouse gets here but I really would rather know how a mouse manages to keep so regularly to a schedule. I long to bring this up in a Phil of Science seminar but I would be embarrassed for everyone to know that not only do I leave the library before midnight but I also have a mouse in my flat.

*There may be other visits about which I am unaware in addition to the Thursday night but there has been a Thursday night visit every week for the past nine weeks, which I think puts this statistically past the post of random.
**A few years ago my subconscious mind started offering automatic internal corrections to the endings/plurals of Latin words in English. In this instance it is calling out that it ought to be 'denominatrix', as indeed it should; however, I think that that would probably bring up unwonted connotations. I'm childish enough that it made me laugh.
***Beyond the obvious - I am not as careless a housekeeper as all that. My untidiness consists in books and newspapers and shoes and scarves strewn perpetually about+ but none of these things is a particular mouse-attractant.

+My couch is currently occupied by myself, my computer, four scarves, two hats, three pairs of shoes (technically on the floor beside the couch but close enough), two newspapers, six books and an article for my dissertation. This is why I can never find anything - I am usually sitting on the scarf I want and the book I need for the day is trapped inside the quilt. Thursday Mouse's hole is probably better organised than my flat. What can I expect, however? My footnotes have footnotes and this accurately represents my internal organisational principles.


  1. How bizarre! I too am fascinated as to how Thursday Mouse knows when to visit. And how it all started in the first place. I could understand if it came on the same time every day, but just on a Thursday? That is delightfully random. I hope the two of you can come to some sort of arrangement. x

  2. If you really want rid of Thursday mouse, there are some canny electronic devices you can plug into a socket which emit a high-frequency sound only discernable to small animals. Rather like the sinister 'mosquitos' that they install over chip-shops to deter children below the age of 18 from congregating outside. I can't think what they're called just now but, despite my initial skepticism, I found mine to be surprisingly effective. I haven't had mice for over 18 months.
    It's likely that Thursday mouse has a mate, and if they happen to be differently gendered than it's almost inevitable that there will be further and increasing generations of rodentry.
    The above deterrant is quite harmless, although use with caution if you have other pets in the house.
    Either that or you could just enjoy the pitter-patter of tiny feet.

  3. I'm so glad to know that mouse traps are not my only non-cat resource. My mouse-foot toleration number is limited to four at the max!

    I never saw Thursday Mouse until my downstairs neighbour moved out. Weeks are such a human-created unit of time that I think the visits must be linked to some event like rubbish collection or similar (I live on a high street and there are quite a few take-aways/restaurants around). Even so, it seems to imply that the mouse is capable of counting, which is philosophically strange.

  4. I had simular when my neighbours moved out. Very soon after, my mouse population more than doubled. At the time, I would frequently leave a loaf of bread on the cutting board only to find it hollowed out and with a diminutive door carved in the side the next morning. Obviously the 10.30 arrival can be explained by mouse's nocturnal perambulations but why on earth should it be only on thursdays. Could it be linked to any particular event (such as the refuge collection as you mention). Is there anything you do or which occurs in your immediate environment on a Thursday? Perhaps you should make a 'mouse-chart'. It could prove infinately more usefual than a 'mood-chart'.
    P.S - I remember having a simular concern with a very sturdy, roving-male house-spider one winter. He would only come out from the sofa on sunday nights when I was atching a particular show on TV (it would be too embarrasing to mention which one but the spider seemed to be an equally fervent fan). I have no further suggestions/advice right now!

  5. I think, technically, it's a 'roaming' male (because it's no longer attatched to its mate/offspring, just like one or two I could mention!). Something many might be unaware of - all 'house' spiders are male!