Huttonian 1 Rat 0 (aet)
Much thought has been devoted to ridding the woodpile of its (?) resident young rat. A bloke who specialises in such things was pontificating on the wire-less yesterday about how he has liberated vast swathes of Lunnon from visiting foxes-not poisoning, not snaring not shooting but removing the attraction for visiting vermin: food. We have no such facile solution available.The woodpile is the wife's food centre for the starlings, brown jobs, other brown jobs, strutting robins, goldfinches, greater and lesser spotted and plainer woodpeckers, Cockie Mark 2 Pheasant and his bride ee in. And other feathered friends known only to God, to the wife and the RSPB via our annual Great Birdwatch return. So poison is not an option, nor is a humane trap as our contraption, courtesy of Joe's, is for mouses and would not contain our young but still large ratlets. And who wants to be humane anyhow? Free them in the further wild and they are back home in a flash.
A neighbour came up with the answer-a powerful .22 air rifle with a telescopic sight. The plan was a simple one: crouch in the 'summer' hut, door open,rifle loaded and wait a target of opportunity being careful not to wing (no pun intended) anything on the feathery list mentioned above-or indeed the wife crouching amongst the beans. After zeroing in the telescopic sight (I can put three holes quite close to each other in a four pack container at 6 yards-follow that Buffalo Bill)I waited patiently in ambush for what seemed like hours. I could not smell a rat but I think he could scent me. Birds came, birds went but the rat remained in deep cover. Then as I was dozing off the cheeky b####r appeared at the top of the woodpile munching into the fat ball; crack (or rather hiss) a satisfying thud and Robert the Rodent dropped into the depths of the jungle. Dead, as, er, a dead rat-not that I am checking by feeling around in the rain forest amongst the fronds, tree trunks and stones which make up this slightly unnatural habitat.But no small creature could absorb a solid hit from a .22 lead pellet travelling at 1200 feet per second and live to squeak the tale (npi)
This morning there was a rat doing its grooming, calm as you like between the woodpile and the bird bath, whistling insolently and twitching its tail. Risen from the dead? Just stunned and recovered?
The wife had an answer-there were always two rats.
Now she tells me!
I feel another ambush coming on. And in the meanwhile if I see two rats. I'll be seriously