Rude Awakening

Think Mouse: winter is coming and it’s time to seek out a place to store food, make a nest and curl up until the spring sunshine brings you out, blinking and shivering, into the pale day of a new year. So, being a diligent mouse, you seek and scurry, until you’ve found the ideal spot: a dark, sheltered chamber with just two circular tunnels into it. Even better, it’s carpeted with a thick, ridged, woody substance that’s warm to the touch and which can easily be shredded to create a cosy, safe nest. And, right behind this Mouse Four Seasons, there’s a dry pit which is perfect for storing nuts and seeds. And so the months pass…

…and then there’s movement outside. Your house suddenly shakes and, from nowhere, there’s an apocalyptic cough and your world is turned inside out — everything starts shaking violently, the noise is stunning and a sudden gale is doing its best to drag you to and through the floor of your hitherto idyllic shelter. Straining every part of your little rodent body, you manage to haul yourself against the howling wind and through the entrance tunnel, not knowing or caring what awaits you….

Think Human: My older Ducati has sat for nearly a year and it was time to charge it up, check it out and make sure that everything is clean, greased and in full working order. Oil’s fine, chain lubed, tyres checked. Battery’s been on the Optimate, so key in and hit the button. The bike fires up on the second turnover and settles into a slightly ragged and fast idle. Five seconds later, a large mouse is expelled from the air intake like an Murine Cannonball, bounces off the back wall and legs it into the middle distance. I sigh, shut everything down, strip the bike down, remove mouse nest from the airbox, order a new air filter and empty the seed and nut collection out of the tool tray. There’s probably a family of Capybara living it up in the Multistrada…

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