I'm a simple country field mouse, without airs and graces. I trundle along in the hedgeback, minding my own business and trying to keep out of harm's way. When I first met my wife she was (I thought) a simple country girl but somehow, oh dear, she has developed ideas above her station.
When it comes to making a home for our intended family, I have always thought it wise to leave the choice of site to her. If I choose somewhere it is bound to be too hot, too cold, too stuffy, too vulnerable - so, like most men, I find it easier to sit back and let her choose.
Well, all I can say is now I wish I had been firmer. Round here there are hundreds of hedgebacks, miles of stone walls, dozens of uninhabited stone barns, plenty of old tree trunks - need I go on. And where, do you suppose, has she chosen to set up home?
Right by the farm gate, that's where! Right where the farm traffic goes in and out every day,
where the farmer's wife drives out to do her shopping, where the farm dogs come romping through twice a day after their walks, just where the farm cats choose to sit in the sun and survey the scene.
Not content with choosing there, she has nibbled off all the surrounding grass to line her new bed so that our entrance hall is visible to anyone who happens to look down as they come through the gate.
'Why did you choose here?' I tentatively ask (she is heavily pregnant and I don't want to upset her). Well, I told you she had ideas above her station - what do you think she said -
'it will be lovely to give birth in a little terrace of tulips and hyacinths - think of the perfume wafting down into the nest; and have you seen that beautiful flowering cherry tree just over the wall - think what pleasure that will give the children when they first come out to survey the world; you're bound to get a better class of mouse here than you would in the hedgeback.'
So here we are stuck, and would you believe that she is even chuffed today because the lady of the farmhouse has been out and photographed our house - I think she is expecting it to be featured in Homes and Gardens next month!