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Years ago I had a 92 year-old neighbour to whom I will refer in this blog as G. She was a character of note, a forceful and outspoken nonagenarian who would tolerate nowt from anyone. I once witnessed the G response to a poor hapless soul who dared speak in slightly less than glowing terms of Winston Churchill. He survived to scuttle away, tail between his legs, but only just and never to return. 

Every few months or so, G would call and say “Jessica, we have the mouse problem again!” This was my cue to grab my mouse trap and trot up the hill to G’s cottage. I would find that G had done all the preparations she deemed necessary. She had melted a square of milk chocolate directly on the plate of her Aga into which she had carefully dipped one large cornflake, ensuring that the bit of cereal was well coated. She would then hand me this bit of confectionary and I would use it to set the trap under G’s watchful eye and often curt instructions. 

Sure enough, a couple of days later, G would call saying:  ”Jessica, we have caught the mouse!” Again, this was my cue to trot back up the hill to complete the task. While I carefully dismantled the mouse trap and removed the remains of the offending rodent, G would hover over me expectantly. With impeccable timing, she would snatch up the chocolate coated cornflake and carefully replace it back in the box with all its unclad compatriots.  

I swear the expression on my face revealed nothing but I would mentally make a note: Jessica, next time G invites you in for breakfast opt for the fruit platter and pass politely on cereal. 

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