Mouse unravels any sense of bravado
There are so many unpleasant things about winter in London.
As we all know, the seasons in the northern hemisphere are topsy-turvy, and I have found myself in the delightful mid-throes of my first full English winter.
(Although, ahem, I hear you lot have been treated to some hail this "summer". Big soz. Hope it's improved.)
To say it has not been a fun time would be seriously understating my case.
Don't let anybody tell you it's not as bad as people make out. It is.
Don't let anybody tell you one pair of thermal long johns is enough. It is not.
Don't let anybody tell you that surely Invercargill's weather is on a par, if not worse, and surely you should be a much hardier soul than this? It is not, and you are not.
But of all the unpleasant things that come along with unpleasant weather in England - a transport system unable to cope, to name but one example - the most unpleasant has happened.
There is a mouse in my house.
As we also all know, winter is a mouse's favourite time of year to venture inside, to perform an exploration worthy of Sir Ed or Cook himself, seeking both warmth and easy-to-chew-through boxes of delightful (though now very much less so) nut-filled Dorset cereal. (My tub of Marmite is running dangerously low again, hint hint Jim, so I have had to resort to painstakingly calculating my breakfast decisions in order to preserve it as best I can.)
I thought I'd left mice behind when I moved out of Dundas St in Dunedin. No cigar.
A couple of traps were laid. (Traps that took three male housemates to operate, I'd like to point out.)
For a few days, I neither saw nor heard of our unwelcome guest, and breathed a sigh of relief.
Then there I was, minding my own business as I sorted through our fridge, emptying out withering chunks of ginger and empty pottles of whatever, when I felt it.
I'm exaggerating slightly. It didn't run over my toes or anything - God, imagine - but I sensed its presence.
I felt its presence, as an ominous, toe-curling chill running down the back of my spine.
I spun around, and there it was - scampering right past me, the cheeky sod, across the freshly- mopped kitchen floor and over to the cupboards. I leapt into the air, proving my father's woe at my (lack of) athleticism, on to the step leading into the hallway.
It took every ounce of strength not to issue a blood-curdling scream - I didn't want to give it the satisfaction - so instead I stood there, quivering, whimpering, pleading for help that did not materialise.
My mother or sister would have staunchly clenched their jaw, picked up the nearest broom or blunt object, but I'm a disgrace to womankind the world over.. (Somewhat relevant story: My mother teaches my sister, then aged 14, how to change a car tyre. She does not teach me, then aged 17, because "it would be pointless".)
I thought, especially after my super-empowered, brave adventure- seeker attitude of just last week, I would be have been better than this.
A mouse? Pffsht.
Why would I be scared of a mouse, when I have stared down a boyfriend with a spider bite somewhere in the wops of South America, moved to the other side of the world knowing not a soul, and unpacked my belongings at some of the backpacker accommodation in which I have stayed?
All I have left is a deflated ego, a sense of letting my entire team down in a worldwide, gargantuan game of touch rugby in which I came ever-so-close to the scoreline but looked behind me at the last second and failed to score the game- winning try (again, to my team- mates in fifth form, I am sorry).
And a mouse. Still in my house.