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A snippet from my volunteer work on the ‘Dedicated Naturalist’: Mary Gillham Archives Project, to celebrate Explore Your Archive, a campaign co-ordinated jointly by The National Archives and the Archives and Records Association that aims ‘to showcase the unique potential of archives to excite people, bring communities together, and tell amazing stories’.

From one of Mary’s nature diaries, July 1981:

Cat food was shared by 2 mice this month. An adult was holed up in carpet sweeper – the entrance the spiral gap between the brushes – to nest of carpet fluff. Had used for several minutes sweeping carpet before I sensed that all was not well and tipped contents into bucket. Bemused mouse, near asphyxiated and with nerves shattered by the trundling and rumbling, did not jump out of bucket but was tipped into garden and scuttled off under old fridge at end of path. Offered water and a gooseberry, neither of which was seen to be touched.

The 2nd mouse, less than half grown, was surprised feeding on kit-e-kat, the only provender accessible. We played tag round the buckets and mops but this one took refuge under the new fridge. Presumably both were brought in originally by cat, whose ailment of tapeworm inhibits her hunting ability not at all.


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