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July 22 – The mouse-catcher

An open letter appeared in the Daily Mail this morning. It was from a Derby mouse-catcher to the Derbyshire mice:

Dear Mice,

I don’t hate anything. I grew up with pet mice. My brother loved them and kept them as pets generation after generation.
Until one escaped and was caught by the cat next door.
I never liked cats.

When my brother left home he asked me to look after them.
I did. I took them for a drive and let them out in a field full of trees, feed and barn owls.
They were happy when I left them.

My brother came home to an empty cage. He chased me around the block three times before he ran short of breath.
He said I should become a mouse-catcher. That sort of occupation didn’t require empathy of any sort.
If I showed as much empathy for an average mouse as I did for his pet mice we would be well suited.

So I gave up my ambition to work as an ER specialist in the NHS and got a job at the Council catching mice at 50p per mouse.
In the first year I made 3,000 pounds. I applied for benefits, and joined the Derby Cricket Club. My father laughed. My brother cried,
so hard he broke a rib.

I learned how to bat. I used my bat to kill mice but I was still on benefits.
The players on the team objected. Only some of the red marks on my bat, mostly on the edge, were from the ball.
They made me promise to buy a bat for mice and a bat for balls.

A cat turned up at a cricket game one day.
“I understand you have a mouse problem”, it said. It was a black & white cat. ”I have an idea.”
Cats chase mice. That could work.

I spilt [sic. split?] the proceeds 50/50 with the cat, who supplied our accounts to the Council. The next year I stopped using benefits and threw a party.
The cat bought me a Rolls Royce for my birthday.
The cat stood for Parliament and won by a landslide thanks to the support of the local barn owls.

There was one problem. Not enough mice. The cat had a good idea.
So we imported mice from Ireland and France for humanitarian reasons. This solved the problem.
Mice breed like cats overseas.

The cat, who was a part-time statistician, liked cricket and turned up to every game.
One day he started to train the bowlers to bowl line and length.
He taught them how to swing the ball both ways, then sent them to Australia to learn how to bowl fast.

The next year we started to win a few games. Some of the bowlers looked like big over-muscled cats. One called himself Mitch, but no one cared. Cat was good enough.
Every batsman looked like a mouse.
The cat winked at me. The barn owl winked at the cat.

The cat said “Can I teach you how to bat.”
“Every bowler looks like a mouse”, the barn owl said.
Next year we won the competition.

Cricket is a game of cat and mouse.
I don’t know how England feel, but every Australian thinks they’re a cat.
It’s called the Ashes.

The Cat (for the Mouse-catcher who is on a break)”

This caused a stir. The Derby Council said they never had a mouse-man but it was a good idea. I mentioned this to the Prof. He thought I was insane. Sarah thought I was seeing more pavilions than UnLucky, who is still undergoing tests in London. Coach2.0 thought the cat was trying to manipulate the betting market.

The Captain understood. He thought he had done rather well, wink, wink. He said he passed it on to Cooky who said he liked dogs – fast dogs.

Cooky passed it on to Brendon who thought this mouse, cat, barn owl thing was unnecessarily predatory. He didn’t understand why everyone thinks  New Zealand is a dormouse. He isn’t a dog man. The whole thing was disrespectful. It definitely wasn’t gentlemanly and bordered on a sledge.

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