What the environmental health man told me was that a certain farmer had lent one of his barns to a turkey farmer. He had filled the barn with poor Christmas table bound turkeys and was feeding them growth hormones. The food containing the growth hormones was dropping through the raised floor of the barns where they were being eaten by rats. This had two effects. Firstly it produced a massive increase in the local rat population and secondly, it produced individual rats the size of cats. The E.H officers were out in force trying to eradicate the problem but they were losing. No home was safe. One of my mum's best friends was featured on the front page of the local newspaper as her house was overrun with them. There was a great big photo of her stood next to a dresser, along which was running a rat. I don't know what caused her the greater distress - the rats or the fact that the accompanying headline screamed 'Pensioner in Rat Horror House'. She is a very glamorous woman who had not previously seen the necessity to tell anyone she was over 60 - and now the whole county knew.
In our village we have an annual 'Safari Party' where we get sent from one venue to another for various courses of a meal. This particular year the party was in October. Anyway, you don't know where you are going till the last minute. For the main course that year I got to go to the farm where the rats were and this in the very same week that our rat plague had reached the newspapers. All the assembled guests were trying not to mention it in front of our hosts although there was much fevered discussion about it whilst they were away in the kitchen. It was agreed that in Fawlty Towers style we should 'Not mention the rats' as opposed to not mentioning the war, but in hindsight this was an unfortunate decision, bringing to our collective minds as it did, Fawlty Towers episodes.
I think all might have gone well had not they reappeared from the kitchen with one of those big silver serving dishes with a dome over it.
As it was, each one of their guests were reminded instantly of the Manuel's pet rat Basil episode and collapsed in hysterical fits of laughter.
Our hosts didn't find it funny.
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