Vole invasion!


We knew it would be cold, so the first thing we did when we got here was to turn on the heating and get the wood stoves lit.
First priority
However, we didn't quite reckon on the dubious welcome waiting for us. Unsuspecting, P emptied the car while I put the kettle on and then started to stash away the food that P was bringing in. Insert loud scream here...  On focusing on the kitchen proper I noticed that every counter was covered in mouse droppings, the sink and drainer included, they'd even been in the toaster! We'd made a huge effort over the summer to stop any potential routes of entry and had thought the house was now as mouse-proof as it could possibly be.  Then what happens - the worst mouse (or vole as it happens here) invasion ever! 

An hour-long cleaning session followed and I thought that was that, but when I went into the bedroom to put my clothes away, I noticed they'd even got upstairs and had eaten the feet, hands and nose off a teddy bear, the fringes off a rug, they'd been making free in the bath and when I raised the loo seat, horror of horrors, there was even one floating in the pan!!! Insert yet another loud scream here. Hoover in hand, another bout of cleaning ensued - only consolation was that at least it helped warmed us up.
Arlo thinks he can smell a mouse!
Django's keeping watch!
When P went to put on some music, he was exceedingly annoyed (understatement!) that they'd even nibbled his best headphones. However, three cheers for the cats, as soon as they were let out of their baskets they were immediately on the case and quickly caught three.  I'll spare you the pictures, but is this not the get-in from hell? 

Luckily we'd brought our supper with us - veggie cottage pie with a mixed root mustard mash topping.  We'd stopped at a farm shop on the way to stock up on vegetables, so all I had to do was braise a savoy cabbage with tomatoes, soy sauce and balsamic and it wasn't long before we were eating our, by then, well-deserved supper. Couple of glasses of wine went down very well too.

We woke up to a glistening frosty morning with the low-lying sun throwing rainbows all round the kitchen.  Wow, almost wishing we hadn't bothered to come the night before, but I wouldn't have missed this for the world. 

Full spectrum, couldn't have painted it better
We threw lots of layers on and went for a wander in the garden - who needs flowers when Jack Frost's paid a visit. Glittering fractals abound, there are textures to die for, each plant vying for centre stage, decked out in its crisp winter clothes.
Box circle
House leeks and thyme
When we were buying the house, the seller delighted in telling us we were buying into God's own land. We took it with a pinch of salt at the time, there are many beautiful places, but it's true to say  that whatever season, the landscape's never failed to be a feast for the eyes over the fifteen years we've lived here.

Not long though before coffee called us back inside, where we found a beautiful tortoiseshell butterfly. Confused by the sudden heat in the house, it had hatched that morning thinking it was spring. Felt so sorry for the poor thing, but at least it can have a cosy life while we're here.
Will finish on a high note.  Had a merry evening round at a friend's home recently. I was invited to join her in making a Christmas wreath, but I hadn't realised that Cathryn is no normal wreathmaker, she's a MASTER WREATHMAKER! We were incredibly industrious, oiled by the odd glass of the not-so-hard-stuff during the several hours of cutting and wiring lavender, bay, holly, ivy and cypress greenery from Cathryn's garden. But how proud was I when we'd finished our two wreathes. 
Our front door has never before been bedecked with such fabulous opulence! 


  1. Mice keep trying to live in my house but my three cats keep them out. I hear them in the walls in the night, though. What a beautiful vista you have and spectacular wreath!

  2. What a peaceful view. Just lovely. ♥ The wreath is a vision I can only imagine the beautiful scent.
    As for the mice they will come up the drains too. I put steel wool in the sink drains when we closed up the cottage.

  3. Any friend of "Our Cathryn" is a friend of ours, too. Loved your blog (I lived through a "mouse experience" once - and it was a once too often)and the pictures and, of course, the photo of the wreath on your door. Lovely home, lovely place, lovely folks. Thanks for sharing! OKay Jackson, Deltona, Florida - aka C.O.M. (Cathryn's Other Mum)

  4. Lovely bucolic wonder ! Is this a country home we're peering into? Adorable Lyra. Oh , I hear your frustrations about the mice invasion, we get those too, and nothing is worse than having to deal with a mousetrap which has been tripped. ( No cats here while Emma rules the roost, and Emma doesn't 'do mice' . )

  5. The garden looks absolutely beautiful with it's coating of frost, and you are a 'born natural' as far as wreath making is concerned! I really enjoyed the evening, it was a lovely start to a weekend of festive decorating!

  6. Happy Birthday to your beautiful Lyra!

    This post is filled with beauty from top to bottom. It was a joy to read it.


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