Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Squeak-well

Could you do with a chuckle to start the New Year?
If so, would you like to hear the sequel (possibly I should call it a 'squeak-well') to the story of Chloe's voice-activated, Christmas mouse?
You would . . . then sit back and enjoy this tale of chaos in the book-room!

By any understanding of the term, Chloe had a good Christmas. It started with her first glimpse of the snow . . . followed by walks in the snowdrifts . . . followed by Christmas morning and the excitement of opening her presents . . . the climax arriving with the discovery of her voice-activated mouse.

If Chloe had a good Christmas, mine was equally enjoyable . . . but somewhat exhausting!
With the over-active mouse safely relegated to a high shelf in the book-room (securely contained in a carrier-bag and well out of the way of prying paws or loud noises) I could finally sit back and relax.

I don't know whether you were able to watch, but shortly after
Christmas there was a ninety-minute television programme designed to the celebrate the eightieth birthday of the entertainer, Rolf Harris.
Many years ago I worked for the theatrical agency who represented Rolf. He was frequently in the office. In addition, I would visit him and his family at their home by the Thames, and looked upon them as my friends.
To refresh these memories, I wanted to see the programme.

On the evening in question, all was calm and peaceful in the book-room. I was seated on the sofa, Chloe was asleep in her cradle, and Rolf
smiled happily from the television screen. It would, I'm certain, have remained peaceful indefinitely had Rolf not reached out for his didgeridoo.

Don't ask me what it is about the bass notes of the didgeridoo that has an appeal to a battery-operated mouse. But suddenly, and alarmingly, the mouse responded!
High on the shelf, the carrier-bag began to tremble and shake . . . from deep inside came a series of loud, high-pitched squeaks and whistles . . . from the cradle by the radiator leaped a fully awake and thoroughly excited cat . . . chaos took over in the book-room!

I'm sure that the programme ended with a fine tribute to all Rolf's work . . . I'll never know! Chloe, the mouse, and I were far too concerned with the drama of the present moment to pay deserved attention to Rolf's eighty years of achievement.

Finally, calm was restored. Another resting-place was found for the now-dormant
mouse, and Chloe and I settled down to recover from the excitement.

But that experience made me wonder . . . just why did the early
Aborigines design and play their didgeridoos? Could there, perhaps, have been a problem with the indigenous Hopping Mouse in the Australian Outback?
Like an Australian Pied Piper, did an ancient Aborigine once lure the Hopping Mice away from the encampments to the strains of the didgeridoo?

Alas . . . we'll never know!