Lying on the sofa, seasonal TV creating background noise, candle burning in the window, coloured lights on the tree, I couldn't have been more prepared for the holiday celebrations. Hell, I'd even prepared the potatoes and dressed the turkey for Christmas Day.
But there was a flicker of movement.
I thought I saw something in the fireplace.
Not a scary something big, I thought I saw a mouse.
Too much alcohol.
I went to bed.
I'd been catching up on a little editing, it was the first chance I'd had to get anything done for days (can't think why). He-who-must-not-be-named arrived with drinks at an appropriate time, we went down to see in the New Year.
We weren't alone.
A tiny mouse with large eyes and round ears watched from the fireplace.
We began the debate, pacifist to pacifist, what should you do when you know you have a mouse in the house?
We came up with the best kind of plan: do nothing, it's only one cute little mouse... probably an escaped Christmas present.
The days went on.
For days there were no sightings of our lodger.
He had probably moved out without leaving a forwarding address.
But as time passed we realised our little visitor had gone nowhere.
Easter weekend, we realised that Mousie-in-the-housie had been visible every day, for days.
So we had a chat, ex-vegetarian to ex-vegetarian, we considered what you should do when you know you have a mouse in the house.
We came up with a cunning plan: buy a humane, catch-and-release mouse trap and put it in the fireplace.
The cute mouse with huge, dark eyes and sweet round ears was bound to understand the necessity of falling for the old "oh look, an extra black box tunnel with an enticing smell" trick. Yes?
Days passed, our wile, wild mouse scampered near the trap, around the trap, and sometimes even over the trap, bur not inside it.
When it scrabbled at the skirting board, we got alarmed.
When it pawed at the mat in front of the fireplace, we got angry.
When it chewed the sweet potato in the kitchen, we decided enough was enough.
We made a decision.
The mouse had to go.
We had to go to Homebase: home of ineffective, humane mousetraps and more permanent fixes.
We bought a safety conscious plastic box with poisoned seeds inside.
We put it in the fireplace.
We were still feeling smug.
When we heard the sounds that followed, that feeling disappeared.
The curled up corpse was lying on the mat in front of the fireplace.
I don't go in the front room at the moment.