Yesterday morning, I popped a couple of slices of bread into the toaster for breakfast. Yes, my life really is that prosaic, but hang on in there for the denouement.
Next thing I knew, the power went down in the castle. This happened inevitably at the worst possible moment: while I was installing a new computer operating system. After a brief thought that it might be the fault of "Windows 7", well everything else is, I realised that the toaster (high current device) could be the cause. I rushed through to the kitchen. There was a terrible smell of burning, and the toast had popped up - rather make that warm bread. As the RCD (residual current device) in the fuse box had triggered I figured there was a short in the toaster and that probably meant a new toaster :-( I disconnected the toaster, and ate the warm bread. I would worry about the toaster later.
This morning I went to make breakfast again; decided I would not risk using the toaster again with my computer running; extracted an old small toaster from the loft, and proceeded to make toast. After breakfast, I decided I could not put off checking the failed toaster over any longer. I peered inside. There was a bit of bread stuck inside - I could remove that for a start. I stuck a knife in. Gosh that bread is below the shelves that lift the toast, and will be hard to extract. No problem, I can break the bread up into smaller bits. Gosh, that bread is very firm. Only, that was no piece of bread, it was a dead mouse totally entangled in all the metal wires inside the toaster!!!!!!
It was now apparent what the burning smell had been. The mouse had crawled inside the toaster to get the crumbs at the bottom. I had applied 240 volts to the mouse, and it had cross-circuited the mains. The burning smell was the electrocuted mouse - the burning smell had been so intense I hadn't merely toasted the mouse but "fried" it!
I have a terrible mouse problem at the castle. Nowadays, I am very careful about locking food away - in fact there is a whole blog entry pending about my battle with the mice. Anyhow, two days ago I asked my friend Andrew if I should be killing my mice. His reply was "yes" and for such a gentle soul that is quite something. The irony is that while I am too wimpy to kill my mice, I seem to be able to put them in the "electric chair".
At the moment, I can't even bring myself to dismantle the toaster and remove the dead mouse.