An Infestation


We are currently suffering an infestation, not of mice, or other vermin but of Borrowers. For those of you who don’t know, these are small beings who live under the floorboards and make use of things that humans supposedly lose. The truth is these items aren’t lost, they are taken and made use of in ways we couldn’t begin to imagine.

Mary Norton wrote about the Borrowers in her series of books, but these creatures must have existed long before she discovered them. Small things have always slipped from human clutches. How else do you explain the earring that is dropped onto a work surface and never seen again? It didn’t fall down a crack, there is no crack for it to fall down, or fall on the floor, where it was searched for on hands and knees, like volunteers combing a field in a police search for evidence. A torch was employed, but still no earring. Given it was in the shape of a rose, I suspect it now has pride of place on some tiny mantelpiece.

The rose shaped earring is only the first of many small objects that have gone missing. Most recently a delicate leaf-shaped earring was purloined. One moment it was in my ear then I turned my head and it was gone. Once again I looked everywhere and once again there is not the slightest trace of it.

Even more mysterious is the loss of a lens from Mike’s reading glasses. He was wearing them when he realised that the vision in one eye was not what it should be. A full scale search was instantly implemented. I crawled under the table, lifted the sofa, looked under chairs, rummaged down the sides of cushions and felt along skirting boards. We looked in waste paper baskets and bins, in the storeroom, the back porch and anywhere else we could think of. Still nothing. Since we couldn’t find it, it’s probably being used as a hand basin in a Borrowers bathroom, or to wash tiny cups and saucers in their kitchen.

Being a firm believer in freecyling, I shouldn’t really mind, but a pair of glasses with only one lens isn’t much use. As for the two very different earrings, I suppose I could wear their other halves together−a rose in one ear, a leaf the other –and if anyone asks why I’ll blame the Borrowers.


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