Get ready for another tale of things that are not so good about living in the country!
If you’re a curious person – or a collector of odd trivia – you probably know that many of the nursery rhymes we sang (or had sung to us) as kids had their origins in historical events.
For example, “Baa Baa Black Sheep” is believed to be the response to a wool tax imposed in the 13th Century by King Edward I. “Goosey Goosey Gander” is considered a tale of religious persecution. And the innocent-sounding “Mary, Mary Quite Contrary” is not a rhyme about difficult gardening choices but a reference to Bloody Mary – aka Queen Mary I.
Unfortunately, the genesis of nursery rhymes moved from theory to reality in this third year of our treechange when we found ourselves singing “Hickory Dickory Dock” on repeat.
Except instead of the mouse running up the clock, our modern version included a team of mice running up the Ikea lamp cord, abseiling down the curtains, and moving across our furniture using moves that would make an Olympic gymnast proud.
As you’re probably aware, a good chunk of Australia is currently experiencing a severe mouse plague.
When we lived in the city, we generally only experienced ‘plagues’ of mice when major building works nearby forced the resident Mickeys and Minnies to look for a new home.
Now, we’re able to make the all too obvious connections between many of the mouse-related rhymes and historic plagues.
We’re so much more fortunate than many people impacted by this plague, with the shouse and sheds invaded this past winter by a relatively small-sized mouse army compared to the thousands advancing on properties further west of us.
But anyone who has shared a house with even a few mice will know it’s not pleasant or fun. Mice do so much more than opportunistically steal food and leave droppings everywhere.
They’re experts in keeping you up at night with their loud socialising (and dining on gourmet house insulation ) inside your walls.
They love to leave their distinctive odour in as many places as possible – how else will everyone (including the local snake population) know they’re in town?
However, the highlight was their efforts to provide us with more balance in the work-life balance equation, taking out our internet for a few working days when they chewed through our very sensitive fibre optic cable.
As you can imagine, we were not amused. Which is why our rhyme fascination very quickly moved along to “Three Blind Mice” and mouse ‘removals’ as summer (and snake season) neared.
I promise we did not chop off any tails with carving knives.
But if you hear us singing a modern version of “Ring-a-Ring-a-Roses” – the rhyme that first appeared in London in the 1600s during the bubonic plague – you know we’re probably in trouble.