Life & Culture

There’s a mouse in Peter’s house

Peter Rosengard's got a rodent problem - and his cat's left home


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SUNDAY 8.05am

l I text my doctor friend Chris.

“I’ve just woken up with two red marks on the top of my right foot. I attach a photo of my foot. A mouse? Do mice come into the bed?”

“Only if they are cold and want a cuddle,” he replies.

Last Tuesday night I’d glanced round and noticed a little brown blob by the stairs. I turned back to the TV, then I thought, “WAIT A MINUTE! It looked furry!”

I got up and it ran away.

Next morning I cleaned my local chemist out of talcum powder. I scattered it across the living room floor. My neighbour Harley, who knows a thing or two about mice, told me, “You’ll see their tiny footprints and then you’ll know where they are coming from and how many you’re dealing with.”

Parents: if you’re looking for talcum powder in Maida Vale for your baby’s bottom, blame my mouse. When I look round I feel like I am in St Moritz, only with more snow.

It’s now almost a week since I saw him or her and as I can’t get to the kitchen without stepping on the talcum powder I’ve been living on Deliveroo Chinese. I’ve put on 12lb and still haven’t seen a single tiny footprint. My mouse clearly knows the old talcum powder routine and is playing a waiting game.

MONDAY 8.30am

l I turn over in bed to reach for my regular long time sleeping companion, my iPhone, to check the news. Last week it told me I’d spent 12 hours a day online looking at the BBC and CNN. “Is that all?” I thought.

TUESDAY 2.15pm

l My friend Bernard calls. “I’ve had both my vaccinations!”

“What?! How’s that possible?” I ask. “Nobody’s had two. What are you, a VIP?”

“Peter, I’m 90 years old. I went along for my annual pacemaker check this afternoon and they gave me my second one. By the way, did I ever tell you that my father had a bicycle and records shop?”, he said.

“He’d discovered the ‘I must buy a bicycle and some records’ market”?

“Yes it was unusual,” he said.

“That reminds me of a sweet shop I went into four years ago in York that also sold swimwear,” I said.

“Now that is odd,” Bernard said.


l In my new solitary lockdown life — just me and my mouse as four weeks ago over breakfast Xerxes the cat told me she had decided to go back to live with my daughter — I have Radio 4 on all day long, listening to non-stop news and people talking, calling in. I’ve never had a garden but now I can’t miss Gardeners’ Question Time and The Archers.

There’s a white slavery scandal in Ambridge — I’m not making this up. On GQT a caller rang to say he makes toothbrushes and had always used plastic but he’d like to start using wood: “What wood would the panel recommend?”

They suggested oak or pine, then someone asked how many toothbrushes he makes a year: “Between five and six million.” That’s a lot of trees!


l A ‘No ID’ number rings. It’s my GP’s surgery.

“Mr Rosengard, can you come for your Covid vaccination tomorrow at 11am?”

“Isn’t that only for old people?” I said. “Are you sure you’ve got the right person?”.

“You are Peter Geoffrey Rosengard?”


“Well, please go to Lord’s Cricket ground tomorrow at 11am.”

“Can I bring my cricket bat?” I ask.

I didn’t know whether to be happy I’m getting the jab or upset because she told me I’m a lot older than the 22-year-old that has always been inside my head.


l I only live five minutes walk from Lords, so I jump on my Vespa scooter and zoom over. I’ve not seen so many old Jewish people since I went to a Jackie Mason evening 25 years ago. There were also elderly Middle Eastern men and women, everyone two metres apart. What an opportunity for a peace breakthrough, I thought as I braked suddenly to miss a taxi. My brakes failed for the first time ever. Somehow I stopped by steering into the pavement. If I had killed myself on my way to my Covid vaccination that would have been ironic.

Sunday 11am

l I read a news story about a young woman in Anchorage, Alaska called Shannon Stevens who had gone to the outhouse. When she sat down on the toilet, “Something bit my butt”, Shannon told the Associated Press. “A bear just popped up in the toilet. I jumped up and screamed when it happened.”

Shannon, I think we’d all do the same.

It puts my mouse in the house into perspective.

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