Thursday, May 26, 2022

A short tale about Mice, Men and Sheds

 A few weeks ago, I went to visit the folks.

It was a long weekend (again - we had 3 in a row - you start to expect it.)

I had most carefully curated my world that I felt I could safely travel to the countryside and see Mum and Dad.

Dad and I got to share a little project.

Their cat, as a mouser, is all class.  Currently he is spoiled for choice - the area is having a mouse plague.  Luckily, there are none to be found in their house - but I think it is because the cat is running a racket.

You see, they stay off his turf and he only shows signs of one or two a day, and he does it rather brashly and unabashedly.  My mother has always had a ritualistic cat.  This one is just like the rest, but with it turned up to 11.

Dad and I cleared the challenges in his shed back down to slightly more organised challenges in his shed.

While doing so, well hidden signs - and the witnessing of many of the scurrying rodents - I surmised that this was where the cat kept his compliant colony.

I saw video of such rodential activity in a near-to-them town's shop during the week.  One does not appreciate the magnitude of the word "plague" until one sees it first hand.

I suppose that is a bit like a pandemic.  Much nicer in the books than in real life, really.

But the shed is amazing now.  We know where the important photos are (still in boxes, but we can locate them), where the not so important documents from 30-50 years ago are and where the "start working our way through the ones at this end" boxes are.  We even know what shelves he would like to be looking at should he ever have a decent rainy day to look at shelves and sort stuff out.

I remember as a kid - the rare occasions when there was no chance of going out to work, your Dad would go down to the shed and be sorting.

Buckets of this and barrows holding that would start to accumulate outside the door - but under the edge of the roof and so out of the rain - and you would be sent down from the house at regular intervals to advise of food opportunities or to "help" for a bit (and looking back, to give Mum a moment to herself, which was otherwise impossible on such rain days).

Down there, you would be given stories of how this gizmo came into being or the bloke who once gave him some good advice or what that could be used for if and if he just chucked it away, guaranteed the next day he would need it.  Guaranteed.

Anyway, so we had fun.

When young, we would discover new pathways and buckets of treasure that were worth saving from the dump.  we found snake-skins.  We found new toys.

We got filthy dirty.  We had fun.

Rivulets of rainwater would flow from the inadequately plumbed gutters and open sides and we would become engineers and create elaborate civilisations along their paths.

 It rained on the day that I helped Dad too.

Only it wasn't like that.  It was a scud to keep us on our toes.  Instead of building dams and glades, I was building brickwork of boxes and blowing away the debris.

We found some corker photos.  Boxes with history and mystery and incredulity and "What?"

We had fun.

Did any one else grow up with shed rituals?


Kelly said...

Our sheds had nothing but boring yard and swimming pool equipment. I do remember hours spent exploring attics and basements, though.

Sounds like the cat needs a dining (or hunting) companion. We can't have cats because of our dogs, but they're pretty good "ratters" themselves.

jeanie said...

I think that the cat might need a whole army of good rat dogs to command.

Our houses here don't have such interesting things as attics OR basements - they tend to be on stumps with limited ceiling cavity which allows air circulation to keep the house cooler.