It's not a good thing to discover late into the evening is it, but it had been building through the day and I had searched high and low because there is no mistaking the foetid aroma of decaying protein is there, and we had reached the conclusion that there must have been a concealed deceasement of some sort. Fear grips the heart really doesn't it, especially when you combine the word 'fitted' with the word 'kitchen' and add in 'efficient mouser' as applicable to Magnus.
I have a complete aversion to mice indoors, dead or alive really. If alive, and ingress is evident, as in this hole in the larder ceiling, discovered at the spring clean back in March...
...then Bookhound knows he has about thirty minutes to achieve resolution before I have packed a bag and headed off to a nearby luxury hotel, which I think is perfectly reasonable don't you, because it always ensures that this repair happens pronto, not next week.
But back to the smell in the kitchen.
To my mind I have the loveliest of lovely kitchens.
In situ for eighteen years now, a mellow combination of maple and delabole slate and granite, and tiles a shade of yellow of which I never tire and which can lift even the weariest of spirits on a dark winter's day. Built in a little workshop to Bookhound's own Shaker design and full of nice homely things, all lived-in and well-used and bearing the chips and scars of family life, but if there is a tiny flaw it is the gap between the far edge of the granite work surface and the window-sill. The intended piece of wood just never made it through, Bookhound employs a useful Chinese proverb in cases like this...'If man finish house he die,' which has got him off the hook many a time.
But who knows what may have bounced down the back, including perhaps a mouse out of the jaws of the feline this week, or perhaps it had run in and got trapped... add in hot weather and the eeeeeugh potential is huge. The last resident to reveal itself in this no-man's land was a rogue potato that had valiantly sent out a three foot long shoot in its search for light, and which suddenly grew through the gap. That was easily sorted, we just kept pulling until it appeared, but this smell was far worse.
By 11.30 pm it was clear that action was needed, so I went off for a bath and left Bookhound to dismantle and discover.
No point in me sitting there watching was there, and the smell was by now eye-wateringly appalling, chances are we would all have died before morning from the vapours. I could hear much banging and wrenching and levering, and could only be thankful (from afar) that at least Bookhound had designed and fitted it all in the first place, so he did know how to take it apart.
Sadly photography was forbidden on the grounds that it might incite environmental health involvement, but you should have seen the pile of 'stuff' that emerged in amongst the fluff and the dead flies..
The new tea-strainer that had gone missing on day of purchase...
The double CD of Gregorian chant..
The kitchen scissors that everyone had accused everyone else of not putting back on the hook about three years ago...
The wooden lid off a very nice pot that has been lidless for about five years.
Lots of little mysteries solved but all covered in something foul-smelling and slimey as Bookhound built up to the Big One.
As his arm reached in and his fingers sank into something soft...and wet...and soggy he feared the worst. Not just what might be in his hand but the implications of a dead mouse behind the kitchen units are far reaching, especially if the mouse is not cat-related and has found its own way in.
Then suddenly it all came back to him.
The missing hard boiled egg that had disappeared off the plate on the work top last week...
'Oh yes,' he said, very good-naturedly all things considered, 'I had forgotten all about that.'
Does this happen in your house??