Thursday, January 22, 2004

There was a murder in my kitchen last night.

It's not unusual for me to come home and find an anatomy lesson laid out on the door mat. Meadow voles, mice and shrews are the usual subject. But last night when I opened the door I was really upset to see a slender but bloodied white corpse laid out to greet me.

Although the body had been moved from the scene of the crime, it didn't take long to find the location of the dastardly deed. In the kitchen the garbage bin, recycling boxes and compost buckets had all been disturbed in the fight. My first instincts told me the cats were the prime suspects, but then I noticed a clue as the true perpetrator of the crime. Blood was splattered up the side of the kitchen cupboards and across the ceiling. This must surely have been the work of Hannah, who has been known to dispatch a hare with a quick back-breaking flick of her head.

This is no way to treat a house guest. The victim could well have been the same weasel that has been visiting our house in winter for several years. A much better rodent control operative than any cat we ever had. We used to hear it galloping through the ceiling space, but the renovation we had done a couple of years ago probably stopped its access to that safe haven. This year he took up residence behind the fridge, probably sleeping on the evaporator plate on top of the compressor motor. We had been concerned about what would happen if the cats cornered it, expecting the weasel to inflict serious harm, if not death, so for a week or so we kept the cats and dogs out of the kitchen unless supervised. But then the weather warmed up and we didn't see it for a few days and thought it had moved out. Unfortunately not.

Its hard not to feel sad about the demise of this lovely creature, but it had probably killed something every day of its life. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

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