Thursday, April 19, 2012


Rattus rattus

Frank Costello: Fucking rats. It's wearing me thin.


I had to be up early the other day to let the asbestos removal people in. We're having asbestos removed from the building at the moment - just one of those things that needs doing, I suppose.

Our building is situated on a little close off a side street and doesn't attract much foot traffic, other than wrong turns. Therefore, I was a bit surprised to see a young couple, a boy and a girl, come running up our close and dive into the hedge at the end. I was even more surprised when a police car pulled into the close, made a quick three-pointer and left.

There's somewhat in't, I thought.

A minute or two later, the asbestos guys arrived, full of the story of a failed mugging they'd just seen out on the high street. According to their story, a young couple had been attempting to waylay 'a big African' (disclaimer: he was probably one of those Africans from Jamaica) who, finding himself unable to escape their attentions, had filled the lad in. The couple had then fled, the lad bleeding rather a lot from his nose apparently.

Having heard all this, I decided I would go and investigate the hedge at the end of the close. Pocketing my phone, I headed to the front door to find two policemen outside.

"Hello there, sir. Is it all flats in here?" asked policeman #1 airily, as if it were the most natural thing in the world for the filth to roll up on your doorstep first thing in the morning and conduct an impromptu housing survey.

"Ye-es," I replied levelly. "But if you happen to be looking for two fugitives, I should tell you they ran down there and jumped into that hedge." (Here, I indicated the direction and foliage accordingly.)

The policemen thanked me and went and investigated the hedge. No sign. They then called in a dog squad and a chopper, made a bunch of noise and then suddenly departed. Either they'd flushed their rabbits out of one of the neighbouring gardens and caught them on the street or, as seems more probable, they'd just decided to go for an early lunch.

Quite a bit of excitement for one day, I thought, putting my feet up in the living room and listening to the sounds of asbestos being ripped none-too-delicately out of the walls. At this point, the biggest, greyest rat I've ever seen scuttled into the room, had a quick look at me, turned around and scuttled back out.

I don't think he was any more pleased to see me than I was to see him.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Getting my rear in gear

Hi, I'd like to volunteer to help on Sunday. Not a qualified first aider or anything, but can say the alphabet backwards very quickly and my PB for holding my breath is slightly over two minutes, so if that qualifies me for any special duties, feel free to use my unique skill set.

The event in question was the Finsbury Park Festival of Running 5k, in aid of Bowel Cancer UK. The festival was organised by my running club, London Heathside, with whom I've been doing so much running recently that my legs don't even feel like my own any more. Hence another good reason to volunteer and sit the race out, aside from the worthiness of the cause.

In fact, there was a whole load of races as there were trials for the London Mini-Marathon, the pre-race spectacle of lots of kids legging it round a massively shortened course.

Heathside did well in the grown-ups race (unsurprisingly as we outnumbered all the other competitors) and there was this delightful inflatable colon thing at the finish for people to explore:

The weather was absolutely horrific but I had the warm glow of knowing I was contributing to the greater good. I also had the warmer glow of having a waterproof jacket and a hot cup of tea while everyone else was running around in the pissing wet.


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