As we were heading inland we discussed the possibility of picking up hitch
hikers. There were plenty around thumbing for a lift, some even had funny cardboard signs like “Freshly showered!” along with their desired destinations. What we didn’t realise is that we would inadvertently pick up some sneaky little hitch hikers who’s thumbs certainly weren’t big enough to see from the road.
We pulled up at a lovely free campsite with a stunning view of a lake that turned out to be hand dug many years ago and a massive mountain behind. We made tea, washed up, put all our stuff into the front of the car and settled down for a chilled out evening. As we sat talking in the dusk we heard a little scrabbling noise. Not thinking much of it were carried on talking until we heard it again, followed by another. After whispering to Pete “What’s that?” He replied that he didn’t know so we started to investigate.
After a few minutes it became apparent that we had mice. And not just one either. It seemed there was an infestation of them. You could hear them scurrying around and we sometimes saw them before they ran off into the depths of the car where we couldn’t find them again. They were squeaking loudly to each other and nibbling at all sorts of packets and food items we had.
After trying fruitlessly to locate them in the dark we did the only thing we could do which was to lock all food items away and try and ignore the noise as best we could. After about half an hour of incessant squeaking, scurrying, scrabbling and nibbling as well as the sensation of loads of them running literally past our feet and next to our bodies I couldn’t quite take it anymore but there was nothing else we could do. Even if we went to another campsite they would still be in the car (Peter suspected they were hanging out in some of the plastic covered spaces within the body of the car) and it was far too late to check into a hostel despite me actually calling one at midnight just to check.
It sounded like they were even in the bonnet and I was worried they were going to be chewing on some of the cables so we got out to investigate but couldn’t see anything as they would frustratingly run to the other side of the car. As we got back in we unwittingly let about seven million mosquitos and sandflies in at the same time, attracted to the only light they could find at half past 12 at night. It was all getting a bit too much and I ended up wailing at Pete “I don’t want to live in a car anymore!”
I went to sit outside just to get away from the noise and see if there were any other solutions I could think up. Miraculously Peter actually managed to drift off amongst all the craziness. It was nearly 2am when two French girls pulled up in their car and I decided I had no choice but to ask for their help. I was worried I might appear a little psychotic holding my lantern up in the dark and approaching these two women at 2 in the morning but thankfully they weren’t startled. They just so happened to have a spare tent which they graciously let us borrow for which I could not thank them enough. I woke Pete up and together we erected the tent as fast as we could, got inside and finally managed a few decent hours of sleep.
I don’t believe we were the only ones having a mouse problem that night and certainly there had been others that had stayed previously who had encountered the tenacious little buggers but by the next morning we had returned the tent, said another million thank you to the French girls and headed off to buy our own in case of mouse emergencies. It hadn’t happened before and thankfully not since either but it certainly made us miss the comforts of home just a little bit more.