South London Photographer: A magical blue chair and a story about some mice…

We’ve got mice.   I tried to convince myself we didn’t but the slightly subliminal darts across the floor are becoming too hard to ignore and the other day I knew the time had come to open up the grey envelope filled with traps which was delivered some time ago. The thing is I didn’t want to come downstairs in the morning and see their little dead bodies, certainly not before breakfast. I needn’t have worried though because those mice are probably just laughing at my incompetence. Following advice from a friend who had the same problem I dutifully popped some pet food on the little spikes one evening because she swore this was the only thing they went for. And the next morning I came downstairs and the cheeky buggers had eaten the food and not set off the traps.

My oldest friend and general adviser in life says the only way to keep mice at bay in these old Victorian buildings is to have cats. We actually had a visiting tabby recently. I was sitting here, as I do, writing my blog when there was a loud crash from the kitchen. I checked it out and noticed something had fallen from the windowsill. Assuming it must have just been the wind or something I went back to work. About 10 minutes later a very insistent “miaow” gave me the fright of my life and I turned round to see a beautiful cat sitting on the wooden chest that houses our vast collection of Thomas and his Friends paraphernalia. As lovely as he was I of course took him down to the garden below and told him to go home. Now, what with the mice and all, I kinda wish I’d invited him to stay for a bit longer, but as far as I remember kidnapping someone else’s cat even for the best of reasons isn’t ideal. And he most certainly had a label on his collar so I couldn’t even have pretended he didn’t belong elsewhere.

And then there’s the problem of my little dog Poppy. Being the Jack Russell/Border Terrier with more than a smattering of Paterdale that she is, she’s rather partial to small fluffy animals and has to go out and about looking a little like Hannibal Lecter, so I’m not sure a cat would last that long with her around. (Don’t they say that the dogs we own are reflective of us in some way? I’m sure I don’t need a muzzle but perhaps I’m blissfully unaware of that side of myself!) Unfortunately, she doesn’t catch the mice but instead sit and stares at the floorboards, whining for hours on end when she knows they are there.

So, getting a cat is a bit tricky, but then cats are funny creatures anyway, aren’t they. They sit on your lap purring loudly and then for no reason at all start repeatedly and rhythmically plunging their claws into your thigh! When you kindly put them down (or throw them off in alarm) they very haughtily saunter away with tails and superiority complexes high in the air as if it were you who started the painful poking.

Son No 2 has asked for a kitten for Christmas though. Mercifully the ex husband said, “As if I would buy a live animal without asking first…” Phew! That’s a relief then.

The thought of any more animals to add to the mix of small boys, mice, a dog and then this imaginary cat as well, begins to sends my crazy hair just a little crazier. I mean, why not get a couple of birds in here too? Actually, come to think of it, we have had those in the house. One instance was the morning after I found out my father had died and a pigeon very bizarrely crashed through the window in the front room leaving a cartoon-like, open-winged-bird-shaped hole in the glass.

“Now don’t go thinking that’s your dead dad visiting!” said Mr X.

“Course not,” I replied although as the poor slightly lame thing was set free I couldn’t help thinking “Bye, Dad!”   The crazy hair was no doubt and quite understandably completely bonkers that day.

Who knows how I’ll eventually deal with the mice… sure it will get sorted soon. Somehow!

I have too much editing to do now so best stop blathering on about the various animals (two-leggers and four-leggers) in my life. Just a photograph of a chair this week. I was working at a corporate party recently and in between snapping photographs of workers dressed up in their finest drinking champagne, I couldn’t help but find moments of magic and mystery.

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Image ©Sarah-Jane Field

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