Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin. And if you're old enough to remember where that opening comes from, I trust you're enjoying retirement. But à nos moutons - or in this case, nos souris.
Once upon a time, there was a small mouse. He - or was it a she? - might have been called a church mouse, except that he never made it to the church. No, this little mouse lived in the Rectory, in a small room under the stairs that had once been referred to as The Bishop's Bedroom but had, since the days when the hapless Bishop indeed slept there, become a dump. As the person who lived in the house gradually dumped more and more in the way of unwanted debris in this room, the little mouse found it a refuge, though there was always the dread, the flaring fear, induced by the Rectory Cat.
The joyful day dawned, however, when the Rectory Cat set off with its owner to live in a rather less damp environment, and the little mouse was free to roam and to breed and to enjoy the crumbs left by the parishioners who had returned to using the house as a hub for social activities. Free, that is, until it became apparent that the old junk was going to have to go, to make way for the junk of the next incumbent - or even, Heaven forfend, a visiting bishop. And so it came about that a hard-working and selfless couple turned up one dreary day and put all the junk in their car and took it to the tip.
A few days later, the selfless lady noticed that a packet of biscuits, left in the car against a peckish moment, had been nibbled at. Her equally selfless husband denied any snack attacks, and their suspicions grew. Eventually they found a tiny nest in a corner of the car, under a seat where no-one would look. They did not, however, find the mouse.
Several suggestions have surfaced among the faithful as to how to deal with this phenomenon. It was thought that a cat in the car could be messy, and might damage the upholstery; poison or a trap seemed likewise messy and distasteful. To date the most enterprising seems to be a trip in said car to the incumbency of the former inhabitant and the former Rectory cat.
After all, it is their mouse.