25 May 2024

Wedding preparations

With less than a month to the wedding of the year, things are getting very busy. There is so much to sort and arrange, I can now understand why some people turn to wedding organisers to do it all for them. Kay is doing most of the hard slog, between her 14-hour shifts at the hospital, so she is rather stressed. I help where I can, but have to leave decisions to her as it will be HER day and not mine. Weddings have changed a lot since I got married in 1976, so I am out of touch. 

The caterers are on stand-by. So are the florist, the make-up artist, the hairdresser, the photographer, the limousines, the entertainment, the vicar and the venue.  Kay is busy designing posters for seating plans, menus and order of events. I have my dress, hat, shoes, bag all resting quietly in the wardrobe. Sadly Kay's bridal dress is not finished. The seamstress who alters the shop version into a more fitted version has somewhat made a mess of the dress, first not taking it in by enough and then taking it in too much. We went to collect the dress last week to discover it was far too tight and the bodice did not look right, making lumps and bumps on her chest, where there should be no lumps and bumps. The bridal shop them told us the seamstress lives some hundred miles away and only comes up to London about once a month, so in a few days we have got to go down to a town half-way between us to get it sorted. All a bit nail-biting so close to the wedding date.

I have the Father of the Bride speech to edit. Another thing I wish Greg were alive to do, as it falls to me now. I am rubbish at public speaking, so am keen to get it right and not lose nerve. I've also got to walk her down the aisle, another role I never envisaged many moons ago. I wonder if we shall feel Greg's presence on the day - he will certainly be conspicuous by his absence.

Today is gloriously sunny and warm, but, knowing our luck, we'll get a tornado on the day. Who knows? Onwards and upwards.

from etsy.com


04 May 2024

Mouse in the House II

I mentioned in my last two posts that mousekind had shaken my faith somewhat. The continuing saga of the mouse invasion had lasted quite a few weeks. I have lived in this house for 36 years and NEVER had mice in the house before, so it really unsettled and unnerved me. With the impending wedding of my daughter coming up in a few weeks, I was anxious to solve the problem quickly, particularly as one of the bridesmaids has a phobia about them and cannot even bear to have the word MOUSE mentioned.

It began a few weeks ago, when one day I suddenly noticed droppings like little black grains of rice all over my kitchen floor,  along the work surfaces and in the cupboard under the sink. In the kitchen in front of my patio door, I had stupidly left open some small sacks of bird seed and peanuts which I used to throw out into the garden for the birds and squirrels. Whatever had left the droppings had helped themselves to some of the peanuts as they had spat out beside the sacks the fine brown skins that cover the peanuts. I suddenly realised with horror that I had mice in the house.

Whilst I had been happy to watch them playing in the garden foraging for seed under the bird feeder, having them have a Glastonbury festival under my kitchen sink and along the kitchen work surfaces was another kettle of fish, so drastic action was required. How they had got in or out remains to this day a mystery. There were no air bricks to climb through, or holes or gaps from outside. I discovered my neighbour also had the same problem under her kitchen sink and so we concluded the mice were getting down into a shared drain between us and somehow coming up through the pipework under the sink. No doubt the smell of the seed and peanuts had attracted them as I had a greater problem than my neighbour.

Humanely killing them was not an option as they would only return once deposited outside again.  So I am sorry to say, I had to consider more drastic action. I got rid of the bird seed and peanuts in our local park; vacuumed every dropping up; bought enclosed traps with poison; liberally sprayed peppermint oil, which they apparently hate the smell of; taped off the outflow pipe of my dishwasher so they couldn't climb up that; stuffed wire wool in any indoor crevice I could see; and scrubbed and cleaned with bleach and disinfectant until my hands were raw. 

All seemed quiet for a few days and no sign of any droppings, so I thought I was getting on top of it. I was reluctant to get a professional pest controller in, as they would be hard pushed to find entry and exit points either, as my house is not a conventional layout and I was doing all the right things they would only do.  However, one evening, I was watching TV at 10pm, when out of the corner of my eye I saw something scuttle across my lounge carpet. Now bear in mind my lounge is two floors above my kitchen (see here) so that really threw me as I had considered the problem contained in the kitchen. The fact that it had come up two flights of stairs was worrying, although there were no droppings anywhere else (believe me I searched and continue to search EVERYWHERE now). I chased the critter round the lounge but it hid behind furniture . Eventually I had pulled most of the furniture into the middle of the room, and it still darted from one hiding place to another!  In the end I had to give up as it moved so fast. I had a very sleepless night that night and then the next morning I discovered a dead mouse near the kitchen, which I presumed was the mouse from the night before. Either it had died of shock or from the poison. 

After more discussions with my neighbour, I ordered some plug-in vermin scarers that emit a shrill signal that only mice can hear (but thankfully not humans, cats or dogs). They came in a pack of four, so I plugged two in the kitchen, one in the hall and one in the lounge for good measure.

Again for a few days, there was no signs of mice or their droppings, so my anxiety levels started to subside again, until a few days ago, I came home from the gym to find a little mouse in the kitchen beside the trap, lying on its side in its death throes..... its heart was racing, its legs were twitching, but it clearly was unable to run away.  I had to finish it off to put it out of its misery (I won't say how, but I felt like the most awful human on this planet). Since then, there has been peace again. I feel confident I have solved the problem (until of course the next corpse turns up). I hope I have caught the problem in the early stages and that now the bird food is no longer there, they have lost interest.  

Fingers crossed, they don't appear like Micky and Minnie to watch the wedding preparations or we shall be one bridesmaid short!