Virginia Barton

18 January 2019: Intruders, part 1


18 January 2019


There are some intruders in my kitchen.

No, not rodents, I am happy to say, although I have always had a soft spot for mice. They lived in every nook and cranny of my parents’ country house and though we rarely saw them, we heard them behind the wainscoting and scampering in the roof spaces. Once I found a nest of them in an old mattress; and we girls all kept white mice, ugly creatures with red eyes. This despite a disgruntled cat and neurotic dog.


In 1966 I set myself up to watch the final of the football World Cup, as thrilling a match as you could wish, specially if you supported England. About fifteen minutes from the end I noticed a little mouse had joined me and was sitting, watching I presumed, a few feet from my chair!

No he did NOT wear an England scarf or wave an England flag — or even a German one — and of course when I jumped up cheering at the end of the match he scuttled away at top speed.


My mother illustrated children’s books for years, as those of you who have explored Beloved Snail will know. She felt she was letting down the side of “ART” by picturing these little creatures, and asked CS Lewis, with whom she was corresponding at the time, for his opinion.

He replied wisely:

“Never despise rabbits in hats.”

This cheered her on no end, and she completed almost sixty books.

(To be continued…)






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