As I sit here in my house in February 2021, wallowing in the ennui of this winter lockdown and anticipating another rainy day of half-term with nowhere to go and nothing to do, I’m grateful I’ve at least got these little mouse hole projects to give me some small sense of purpose and a creative outlet.
And with the feedback I’ve recently received, I think I’m going to be busy for months to come, as people seem to enjoy the mouse hole more than I could even have guessed.
The Bernie-in-the-Boot-Scraper went a little bit viral (it helps to have a famous writer for a neighbour), and now I’ve been outed as the creator of the Wakehurst mouse hole. Guess I can’t call myself the Banksy of Boot Scrapers anymore!
A photo of it also appeared in an article in The Guardian… twice.
I’ve been getting loads of messages from strangers who reach out to tell me how much they’ve enjoyed the mouse hole over the past nine months, and how much joy it has given them, and telling me to keep it up. It’s been so heart-warming, so affirming, so uplifting–all the things I wanted this to be for others when I started it. It’s all come flooding back to me in the response.
A few of the messages:
I was contacted by BBC television, who wanted to come interview me, but then they ended up canceling. But just today I was contacted by someone at BBC Radio, for the Robert Elms show, and I’m booked in for a phone interview on 4 March at 12:10. Honestly, and I cannot get over this, the last thing I would ever have thought I’d be getting interview requests for would be my sewing.
And a couple weeks ago, a lovely photojournalist from The Guardian, Jill Mead, came and took my picture with the repurposed boot scraper, in between my kids’ Zoom school lessons. First and last time I’ve bothered to put on makeup this year!
We did run into one of the homeowners during our photo shoot, and chat with her a bit. Now she knows how to get ahold of me, so I guess she can tell me to stop if she gets tired of all the gawkers outside her front door!
We just did a Valentine’s Day theme, with two little love mice, which my 7-year-old named Whiskers and Squeakers.
We made them some tiny valentines to give each other, and bought a little postbox for all the neighbourhood mice to use to post their valentines.
Soon someone brought a couple of sweet little pink doilies for them to sit on. But then–disaster struck. Whiskers disappeared.
We had ourselves a proper mice-tery. Did he get taken by a tiny toddler hand? Or kidnapped by a kitten (they do look an awful lot like cat toys, to be fair)? Was he whisked away by the wintry winds we had that week? Or did ol’ Whiskers tell his darling he was just popping to the shop for a pack of cheese, and never come back? Right before Valentine’s Day, the cheek of him!
So I did what anyone might do in this situation: obviously, I had to make a tiny mice-ing person poster.
He has yet to resurface, so I think we can assume Whiskers is gone for good (perhaps he’s more of a country mouse?), which is fine. I’ve got the next few mouse hole scenes in the works already, so it will soon be time for Squeakers to move on as well. Our mouse hole is more of an AirB’n’B-type hole; short-term accommodations for critters who come and go. But the joy it’s bringing to people in this area, that, I’m happy to report, seems to be much longer lasting.
(P.S. Can we talk about how the dogs posing with the mouse hole have names like Marmite and Crumpet? LOVE.)