Special Deliveries

Dear Friends,

Apart from my letters home to my good friend Lucy, I sometimes send the occasional illustrated letter to people other than Lucy.

Over a cup of coffee this morning, it suddenly occured to me that although I may have shared these letters and cards over on my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, I hadn’t actually published them on my blog.

So here they are –

A little ‘Thank You’ card to my friends at Much Ado Books for taking the time to procure me a signed copy of Lunar Cats by Lynne Truss

Here’s the actual signed book.  It’s a fabulous read, although you should read Cat Out of Hell first to pick up on the whole story.

If you’re ever in Alfriston check out Much Ado Books, it’s a super cosy shop with lots of good reads.

My friend Cate from ‘Much Ado Books’ later sent me a bundle of old postcards to use in my correspondence, so I sent her a ‘Thank You’ letter.

This is a close up of Roger, a very special cat that features in “Cat Out of Hell’.

Here’s a little birthday postcard that I drew for Lynn’s Mother.  If you don’t know already, Lynn is my secretary who helps me load all my correspondence onto the blog whilst I’m away travelling.

Lynn’s Mum kept complaining that she’d never received a card from Morris, so I felt obliged to knock out a quick scribble.

And finally, here’s a quick letter of apology that I bashed out on my new typewriter.  I’m so busy travelling that I don’t always get time to catch up on all my correspondence, however I do find it quite useful to use Lynn as a scapegoat.

I was really pleased with this little sketch so I decided to use it on my postage labels for when I send out my postcard packs which are available to purchase in my postcard shop.

And in other news, I was recently featured in the Summer issue of ‘Town & Country’ magazine so I’ve started a media page in the hope that one day I’ll be able to fill it up with features and articles ….. one little mouse can only dream!

I hope you’ve like this little impromptu blog.  Drop me a comment or a message and I’ll get back to you mouse style.

Bye for now,

Morris Mouse

 

 

51 – Mind, Body, Spirit

Dear Lucy,

Having found myself with a week off in-between Cub Scout camp and a stint of work experience on the Mouse Mail train, I decided to visit my pen pal Mandir in India, for a week of yoga and relaxation.

Sending some scribbles of the new poses I’ve learnt whilst away.

Mouse yoga is a little more complex than the human practise due to us mice having an extra appendage, the tail, which has to be aligned with one’s chakras.

M. M.

Do you practise yoga?  Have you ever been to India?  Morris would love to hear from you, so please feel free to hit the comments box.

Morris will get back to you mouse style.

© All images and story content copyright of lynncf

50 – A Mischief of Mice

Dear Lucy,

It’s always something of a nice surprise when you slip on a pair of trousers that you haven’t worn in a while and find a fiver in the back pocket or stick your hand between the cushions of the armchair on the hunt for a runaway piece of cheese and pull out, instead, a shiny pound coin.

Even nicer, was Millie’s experience last Thursday of finding an old envelope from 1936 containing a receipt and a wad of cash that had never been sent, one hundred pounds to be exact!

After calling the bank to enquire as to whether the old notes could be deposited in the Post Office Depot petty cash account and finding out that they could, Millie began to toy with the idea of the funds being put to a good cause.  Over tea and biscuits, Gertrude was thinking about buying a new country dancing skirt, Millie thought about a new prop shaft for the Mouse Search and Rescue plane, and I was pondering whether or not deep fried seaweed would make a good pizza topping.  Our thoughts, however, were rudely interrupted by a number of pictures falling from the office wall and crashing onto the floor as a frantic Maureen blasted through the door talking complete gibberish and demanding a crisis meeting.

Turns out, Eric’s plan to use boxes and bin liners, from office supplies, as sleeping quarters for his local Cub Scout group on their outward bound expedition that coming weekend had been the catalyst of Maureen’s afternoon meltdown.  It didn’t take Millie long to put two and two together as she recalled the heavy rains of last Autumn flooding the basement and causing an awful stink about the depot as rotting canvas gave way to an unplanned fungus farm.  “Seems we’ve found our good cause, ….” proclaimed Millie, as she picked up the phone to ask Eric to bring the delivery van round the front “…… a trip to Mousemart Adventure Supplies it is!

Come Friday afternoon the 1st PO Depot Cub Scout Group were all eagerly assembled in the depot car park, wildly excited about their shiny new 10 man (mouse) tent.

Lucy, I must say, not having any prior experience of mouslings, I found them to be almost that of a subspecies from a different planet, rather than smaller versions of adult mice.  On Saturday morning I awoke trapped in my sleeping bag after the little blighters surreptitiously put their emergency sewing kits to no good use over night.  On Saturday evening, whilst taking part in a campfire talent contest for their Outdoor Challenge Award, Cuthbert Junior decided to delight our senses by farting the National Anthem through his woggle and blaming it on the beans.  Which, give him his due, was pretty much note perfect.  Come Sunday morning, relived to find my sleeping bag intact, I emerge wearing a pink frilly ladies nightie, which I most definitely hadn’t retired in.

By Sunday evening I confided to Eric my thoughts that perhaps the 1st PO Depot Cub Scout Group didn’t much like their new helper.  However, Eric was quick to reply that I couldn’t be further from the truth. Apparently the cubs thought Mr Morris to be the best new Cub Scout Master they’d had in ages.  The group’s decision being concluded mainly because I’d passed all my initiation challenges without shouting at them and also for setting up the ‘best zip wire ever’ despite it ending over a muddy puddle.

Pleased as I was with the mousling feedback, I decided to put my woodcraft skills into action on Sunday evening so as to ensure no further nighttime capers before dawn!

 

Hope this letters finds you well.

Love,  M.M.

Have you ever been on an outward bound camping expedition?  Did it turn out anything like Morris’s mousling Cub Scout trip?

Morris would love to hear from you, so please feel free to hit the comments box.  Morris will get back to you mouse style.

© All images and story content copyright of lynncf

49 – Entente Cordiale

Dear Lucy,

As I turned the page into April my diary was looking a tad spacious for the Easter period, but as luck would have it, a letter containing an invite from my friend Wilbur on the 4th soon filled my empty windows.

Wilbur lives in the grounds of a beautiful old estate, with a fine Georgian house full of art and antiquities.  The house and gardens are open to the public daily so it’s well known in the area.  Very little, conversely, is known of the equally impressive mouse estate built in the Victorian era and located just behind the pet cemetery of the big house.

After spending an interesting few days exploring both estates, Wilbur introduced me to his friends Palmerston, Gladstone and Clemie, who live in the kitchen gardens of the big estate.  Now, it’s somewhat unusual for mice to include chickens among their close circle of friends, since chickens have been known to snack on the odd mouse, but, the delivery of a monthly cheese scone, procured from the visitor cafe by Wilbur, has ensured an entente cordiale between English mouse and French hen for the last few years.

Wilbur warned that Clemie hadn’t quite been herself of late and told me not to be surprised if I found her a bit testy, but after a short chat I thought her to be quite a nice chicken indeed.  The simple cause of Clemie’s malaise was due to nothing more than missing her daily walks around the kitchen garden whilst incubating her eggs.  Wilbur was delighted to learn of the cause to Clemie’s ratty behaviour, not because he reveled in the misery of others, but because he is the sort of mouse who likes to find a solution to a problem.  Mid conversation, Wilbur had disappeared in search of his thermometer, and after comparing the temperature of Clemie’s nest to that of the mouse greenhouse, suggested to Clemie that he and I might look after her clutch whilst she took the afternoon off.

Kind as Wilbur’s offer was, we soon discovered egg sitting to be quite a boring task, so to while away the time and surprise Clemie on her return I suggested we spend the afternoon decorating Clemie’s offspring in readiness for Easter.  Wilbur went for a delftware style, inspired by the china in the kitchens of the big house whilst I experimented with a more traditional folk art design.

Being delighted with the newly decorated eggs and as a thank you for our hard work, Gladstone and Palmerston treated us to an evening ride around the estate, which was all very pleasant and sedate until the pair simultaneously spotted a discarded cheese and pickle sandwich over by the compost heap.  Without warning we found ourselves the unwilling participants in a high-speed sarnie race, eventually won by Wilbur who went flying headfirst into a mountainous dollop of chutney after Gladstone, who’s scared of snails, came screeching to an abrupt halt in the final furlong.

Clemie laughed so hard that one of her eggs started to crack.  It’s looking like her brood will arrive in time for the Easter weekend and she’ll be back to her old cheery self once more.

Happy Easter!

Love,

M.M.

Morris would like to wish all his readers a very Happy Easter, and if you don’t celebrate Easter then a very happy bank holiday weekend.  

Morris would love to hear from you, so please feel free to hit the comments box.  Morris will get back to you mouse style.

© All images and story content copyright of lynncf

48 – A Tinkle Along the Tracks and Trails

01 March 2017

Dear Lucy,

A sure sign of spring, other than the return flight of the swallows and the first flush of lemony primrose blooms in the shady hedgerows, is the sight of Vernon and his ice-cream van chugging along the tracks and trails of our mouse community.

After a dodgy start Wednesday morning, swiftly rectified by a few short sharp whacks to the starter motor with a hefty spanner, the familiar tinkle of Teddy Bear’s Picnic drifted through the slightly ajar windows of the post office depot and into the ears of some, suddenly wildly excited, mice at around 2.00pm.

Apart from the hearty hails of ‘white rabbits, white rabbits, white rabbits’ (a traditional good luck greeting for most woodland animals on the first day of each month) the 1st of March had started out to be something of a grey and un-spring-like disappointment until Vernon arrived to brighten our day.  As luck would have it, a short interval of fine weather granted us mice half hour repose in the garden to lick our lollies in the warm sunshine.

Concerned that Millie had missed out on the party due to spending the afternoon taking her old Mum to the dentist, Vernon and myself winged past her cottage on the way home and popped a Neapolitan briquette in the freezer.  Having had a tooth out, I’m sure Millie’s Mum appreciated the gesture.

Love,

M.M.

Mice are particularly partial to retro varieties of lollies and ices. Can you name any of the varieties featured in Morris’s illustration? Do you have a favourite?  Morris would love to hear from you, so please feel free to hit the comments box.

Morris will get back to you mouse style.

© All images and story content copyright of lynncf

47 – Witch Fever

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Dear Lucy,

 I’m the sort of mouse who likes, when reading, to impart snippets of knowledge to anyone who may be within earshot.  I think I may well stop being that sort of mouse.

On Monday I spent the morning perusing a couple of book deliveries that Millie had taken receipt of whilst I was away.  ‘Bitten by Witch Fever’, an account of wallpaper and arsenic in the Victorian home had a rather funny excerpt, which I’d read aloud to Millie whilst she was filing her monthly invoices.  A German scientist by the name of Leopald Gmelin had reported in a Berlin newspaper that a strange ‘mouse-like’ odour could often be detected in damp conditions where wallpaper containing arsenic, was present.  I thought very little of this brief impart of humorous information and even less of Millie’s sudden announcement around lunchtime that she was taking the afternoon off.  Having already arranged to go round Millie’s for tea, her parting mumbled words “I’m popping off early to intercept the waffles” held no worries in my mind other than whether she’d remembered to stock up on maple syrup.

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When I arrived at Millie’s around 4.30 that same afternoon, to my horror, not only were there no waffles in sight, but, the cottage was in complete chaos.  It didn’t take me long to conclude that Millie hadn’t left early to intercept any waffles, but rather, had spent her entire afternoon inspecting the wallpaper after coming to the rapid conclusion that her cottage smelt of mouse and hence must be full of poisonous arsenic.

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Now, at this point I could have offered up the suggestion to Millie that her house was bound to smell of mouse due to the fact that she was, in actual fact, a mouse smelling mouse.  However, fearing Millie might think that I was implying she stank and looking around at the already half stripped walls, I decided to keep quiet and perform the most logical course of action required in a panic situation of this gravity; that of checking to see if the casserole was ready whilst considering new designs for Millie’s walls.

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I am including with this letter the series of designs that Millie chose as her favourites.  After a week of full on DIY we’ve pretty much completed most rooms and am, as I write, just adding the finishing touches to the trompe l’oeil in the study.  I think we shall celebrate the completed restoration with a well-deserved plate of waffles; it’s been a tough week!

Lots of love,

M. M.

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Moris’s recent activity has been inspired by a number of sources which he’d like to tell you about.  Obviously, the wallpaper debacle is explained in the letter, however, his layout for the letter was inspired by the Edward Bawden Scrapbooks, a fascinating read published by Lund Humphries.  Moris’s trompe l’oeil design for Millie’s study was inspired by some snaps shots of Stephen Courthauld’s bedroom, recently sent to him by his friend Dave, who lives in Eltham Palace London.

Do you have a favourite designer?  Morris would love to hear from you, so please feel free to hit the comments box.  Morris will get back to you mouse style.

© All images and story content copyright of lynncf

 

46 – International Book Giving Day

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Dear Lucy,

To avoid disappointment down at the depot this year, Millie decided to enforce an outright ban on all things Valentine.  Instead, she and Gertrude organised a giant book swap for International Book Giving Day.

Everyone arrived at work with a small selection of books from their private libraries, each containing, as per Millie’s instruction, a nice message to the new owner, hand written on the title page or thereabouts.  Everyone was also asked to make a special bookmark to pass on to a friend.

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An inspired idea by Millie which ensured everyone was remembered on Valentines, although as far a productivity was concerned, not much mail went out today due to most mice spending a distracted afternoon with their new reads.

Happy International Book Giving Day!

Love M.M.

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Have you shared a book for International Book Giving Day?  Morris would love to hear about any swaps, so please feel free to hit the comments box.

Morris will get back to you mouse style.

© All images and story content copyright of lynncf

45 – The Mice of the Round Table

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Dear Lucy,

Having had a whale of a time at the jousting tournament, Tommy and I decided to spend a while longer in Medieval England.  After a few days heading south Tommy started to complain of an annoying, but not unpleasant tasting, greasy stain on his fur.
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I had warned Tommy previously that butter, in the absence of a Tupperware container, wouldn’t travel well in warm weather, but after failing to heed my advice, his insistence that all would be well if he packed up some supplies in a hessian parcel inside his backpack was evidently now resulting in a terribly oily mess all down his fur.

Making a pit stop for tea and snacks, we soaked up what butter we could with what was left of the bread and flung the oily pack on top of a nearby stone to dry out in the sun.  I must have only been half way through my tea when Tommy jumped up with a start and began shouting at a local scoundrel who was seemingly about to ‘half-inch’ his backpack.  What ensued next I can only describe as a furious exchange of riotous angry squeaks which went on for several minutes until we all calmed down, and discovered that the thief wasn’t a thief at all, but a rather nice young mouse by the name of Arthur.

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Over a fresh brew of tea we discovered that Arthur had recently come down to London with his brother to attend a knight’s fighting tournament.  In his capacity of temporary squire, Arthur was entrusted with his brother’s equipment.  Unfortunately, just the day before, Arthur had been larking about with his brother’s sword and having become a bit over excited with his advance lunges accidently flung the weapon into the Thames.  Arthur pointed to the sword sticking out of the stone next to Tommy’s pack and asked if we might help him retrieve it.  Happy to help a fellow mouse in trouble, the sword was already beginning to loosen with the butter melting from Tommy’s pack so we decided to squeeze out what remaining oil we could and within minutes Arthur had pulled the sword free.

As a thank you, Arthur invited us back to meet his friends at the local tavern.  We had a great evening of chat and medieval entertainment around what Arthur thought was the best table in the house.   Since returning home Arthur has written to tell of some exciting news.  Some days after our departure he and his brother noticed some strange writing on the blade of the sword that we pulled out the stone.  The inscription read, “Whoso pulleth out this sword of this stone is the rightful born king of England’s mouse kingdom.”  With his new found status and wealth Arthur has ordered a round table just like the one he took a fancy to at the tavern and is making plans to appoint a cavalry of Knights to protect the Kingdom.  Arthur’s brother was the first to be appointed in recompense of Arthur losing his favourite sword.

Hope this letter finds you well!

Love M.M.

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Have you ever had an accident with something you’ve packed in your bag?  Have you ever had a good night down the local tavern?  Morris would love to hear from you, so please feel free to hit the comments box.

Morris will get back to you mouse style.

© All images and story content copyright of lynncf

44 – Cat Jousting

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Dear Lucy,

I decided to spend new year in the highlands with my friend Tommy who found himself with the weekend free after being most graciously ‘let out’ of his monthly obligation to cook the rats their Sunday dinner, as was the agreement after losing the battle of Tankerton Castle last summer.  When Rastius called Tommy last week he predicted that everyone would probably be too partied-out to even get out their pyjamas on New Years Day, let alone get down to the castle for a full roast.

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After spending a relaxing first evening in front of the fire reading through old journals written by Tommy’s ancestors, we decided to expand our education with a trip to medieval England for a spot of cat jousting.  It seems points were awarded for presentation, so to give ourselves a good advantage we spent the best part of Friday searching out and polishing the finest harnesses of armour from the castle wardrobes.  Not having any steeds to speak of, on Saturday morning we paid a visit to Morag in the Angus Glens to ask if we might, for a few days, borrow her kittens: Angus MacTabby and Archie Fishface.  Morag said she’d be delighted for us to take her sons from under her paws after they’d driven her up the wall over Christmas and that it would give her a chance to pay a visit to her sister in the Cairngorms who didn’t like kittens.  MacTabby and Fishface, being purebred Scottish wildcats, were quite a handful but after being warned by their mother that the eating of domestic mice would cause them to be violently sick, we felt quite safe in their company.

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Considering we’d had no prior experience, Tommy and myself discovered that we were pretty good at jousting and found ourselves ranking quite high until disaster struck on the second day.  We can only blame ourselves for not having briefed the kittens sufficiently in the art of medieval feline combat.  A sneaky hiss from a rather stuck up Persian ended our tournament when MacTabby took offence, bounced over the tilt and smacked the pedigree into submission with a repeated paw thwump to the left ear, and Fishface, who’s not as a rule loyal to his brother, made matters worse by rushing in to defend the family honour.  Within minutes some twenty cats had joined the skirmish, resulting in our disqualification for starting the commotion, although Tommy remains convinced that there was some underlying snobbery afoot on account of MacTabby and Fishface being considered feral.

Disqualification not being entirely without its advantages, we spent the final days of the the tournament enjoying the battles from the safety of the sidelines, feasting on medieval fare and meeting a few of Tommy’s ancestors.

Happy New Year!

Love, M.M.

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The Scottish Wildcat is the only remaining wild cat in Britain.  Once common in forests across the UK it is now confined to just a few remote areas in the Scottish Highlands.  Numbers originally decreased due to deforestation and human persecution, but today their primary threat is that of cross-mating with feral domestic cats, a process known as hybridisation. Today these wildcats, affectionately known as the Highland Tiger, are critically endangered with recent surveys suggesting that there are less than 100 individuals left in the wild.  If you’d like to know more about the current work in progress to save this most precious of felines, please feel free to visit scottishwildcats.co.uk.

Morris would love to hear your thoughts, so please feel free to hit the comments box.

Morris will get back to you mouse style.

© All images and story content copyright of lynncf

43 – The #illo_advent Challenge

 

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Dear Lucy,

This year myself, Millie, Gertrude and Clive decided to spend Christmas over at Winston’s in the old oak tree after finding out that he’d been most ungraciously let down by his friend Betty who’d had a better offer of spending Christmas at a spa hotel with the ladies from her sewing circle.  She’s a fickle one that Betty!

Winston has two comfortable spare bedrooms with twin beds, so it all worked out nicely when it came to fitting us all in.  Winston said that it was the best Christmas he’d had in years and after a few drinks over lunch said that he hoped Betty’s fur turned green with the chlorine.  Clive brought with him a lovely new Monopoly board which we decided to set up on a side table as a running game throughout the holiday, so as to save anyone from going mental and kicking the ruddy thing across the room after playing for five hours and getting absolutely bloody nowhere, as is usual with a game of Monopoly.

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The break at Winston’s was a nice end to what had been for me, a busy December of Christmas preparations.  This year I decided to document the month with a series of drawings for the #illo-advent challenge over on my social media channels, which went down well but added to my workload.

On the subject of advent, we had quite a lot of fun down at the depot when on the first of December an unaddressed advent calendar got stuck down the time tunnels.  As a rule, all personal correspondence coming into the depot reduces to mouse size as it travels down the tunnels, but for some reason the calendar kept regular proportions.  Millie rounded up a technical team to get the calendar out, which took a few hours and some ferocious nibbling of the edges to set it free.  Having no address and no way of knowing who the calendar was supposed to be sent to, we decided to set it against the large wall at the end of the sorting room and Winston devised a system of pulleys so that we could get to the windows to open them each day.

Rumours went round the depot that the calendar was a special gift from Santa, but I’m not sure how true that is.

Hope you had a lovely Christmas too!

Love M.M.

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Morris would like to wish all his followers a very happy Christmas, he’d love to hear your thoughts on his advent challenge, so please feel free to hit the comments box.

Morris will get back to you mouse style.

© All images and story content copyright of lynncf