Thursday, 12 October 2006


I saw the Giant Rat of Sumatra on Sunday. Well OK, it almost certainly wasn't the Giant Rat of Sumatra, given that although we don't know the outcome of that infamous case, we can usually assume that Mr Holmes effectively sees off his foes and anyway, it would be rather elderly by now.

But it was a big rat.

I spotted it as I was helping myself to some muesli in the kitchen. It was at the bottom of the garden helping itself to the seed I'd just put down for the ever-hungry wood pigeons and collared doves.

At first I wasn't sure it was a rat, because I couldn't see a tail, but using the binoculars in the living room, I could see it well. As I watched, I could see it raise up on its hind legs and sniff the air. I could feel Patsy123 shiver next to me.

It wasn't totally unattractive. Unlike the rats in movies, which are always wet and dirty, this was a very clean specimen, with white fur showing clearly on its underbelly. But it was a big clean specimen and I manfully went out into the garden and sent it one its way. It ran off through Lucy Smooth's garden, so far as I could tell.

With luck it might prove to have been just a passing rat, a traveller by trade. But it does mean I've had to stop putting down seed for a while. The feeders are kept well stocked, but the wood pigeon doesn't like the new regime of having to pick up bits and pieces the sparrows have dropped or thrown away.

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