Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said that way back in the 19th century. Emerson may be disappointed to know that mousetraps have actually taken a turn for the worse.

A mousetrap should have a ferocious metal bar to despatch the rodent instantly. Traps in Spain have a wire noose in keeping with that nation's preference for the garrotte as the method of capital punishment.

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The modern mousetrap from a Glasgow hardware store resembled a flimsy set of spring-loaded plastic castanets. It proved to be neither a killing machine nor a humane trap. My prey ended up clamped by the head and writhing about in a vain bid to get free.

I had been a reluctant hunter but the mouse had left me little option. It ate into the black bun I had bought in Forsyth's fine bakers in Peebles and hadn't managed to eat at New Year but was keeping for a belated Burns Supper.

Then it gnawed at a box of Belgian chocolates and, last straw, it attacked my reserve of macaroon bars. The mouse had also proved to be a terrible house guest by leaving behind droppings which, with great irony considering the amount of stolen chocolate involved, looked like vermicelli.

The mouse was sent to a watery grave. Her Indoors was feeling especially guilty as she wanted to see the rodent safely to the other side using a bit of reiki. But by the tenets of reiki, the mouse should not have been killed in the first place. Luckily, according to a reiki master, the whole sad issue of the rodent could be resolved with the application of some posthumous therapy.

Me, I saw the mouse off with a short humanist service after its less than humane death. Since black bun destined for a Burns Supper was involved, I did a few verses by Rabbie. The ode to the tim'rous beastie. The Address to the Macaroon. And a bit of Holy Willie's Prayer. There was a farewell song. "Caught in a trap and I can't walk out-" from Suspicious Mice by Elvis Presley.

Happily, there has now been investment at Buffer Towers in electronic devices which emit signals and deter rodents. The next lot of black bun is going in a Tupperware box.