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Sunday, 27 June 2010

Of Mice and Men

When the Partridge came over for supper a few weeks back I showed her around my garden, which was just coming into bloom. Unbeknownst to her, I made sure she did not see a certain piece of garden produce I had come across only a few days before. At first I thought it must be a sleeping mouse until it dawned on me that, given its size, it was more likely to be a dead rat. The next day it had been moved, presumably by foxes, further behind the shrubs. It was out of my direct eye sight but I was still uncomfortably aware of its presence. I did not relish the prospect of having it decay in my strawberry patch. Unfortunately it would have been impossible to dig a sizable hole in that part of the garden as it has only a few inches of soil before you hit matting, placed there in the past to inhibit the spread of weeds, something it has singularly failed to do. My only other choice would have been to place the dead rat on a spade and carry it across the lawn to the other side of the garden, where a deep hole could be dug.

I tried to enlist the support of Cristo but my hero proved to be less than heroic and more of a King Creon. He was all for me slinging it over the wall into the derelict garden next door. I balked at the notion believing myself incapable of managing to achieve such a feat of dexterity as the fence was too high. Moreover, the idea of throwing the rat into the air only to have it land back on the ground before me was too awful to contemplate. Cristo, as if to excuse his own lack of bravery, recounted the story of his nephew’s pet gerbil, which had been exhumed by foxes to his young relative’s distress. So I left the rodent Polynices to its fate. To my relief, the foxes did devour the corpse, leaving only a tiny fragment of the head to bear witness to the rat’s demise.

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