Tag Archives: voles

Trousers, rats and vole-au-vents

Yesterday comprised mainly of paperwork, a meeting and fighting my way through traffic. The latter was caused by having to pick up some alterations Julia was having done. We’re going to a wedding reception on Saturday night and she wanted her new trousers to fit. I’m have new trousers too, but I have lower personal standards in matters of appearance so mine will be going on straight out of the bag.

I haven’t actually bought new trousers for the reception, it’s just that time of year. Two pairs of black, two pairs of dark green and I’m set for weddings, funerals, interviews, casual wear and anything else the world may throw at me in the next 12 months. Last year’s trousers now become working garments and don’t ask me about the year before because I’m hard on trousers and after two years you can almost sense them sighing with relief as they split, tear or simply wear through.

Being a modern couple, Julia’s niece and husband got married abroad and are holding the reception in Nottingham because that’s where they live. Suits me. In the old days we’d have had to trek down to Suffolk, where the bride’s parents live, and I’d have felt duty-bound to complain all the way down.

I suppose that isn’t a bad trade off – an hour in traffic set off against a trip to Suffolk and back.

While I was parked behind a building waiting for Julia I was treated to the sight of a young rat cavorting in an overgrown margin. It seemed full of the joys of spring and looked very well fed, but you would do if you have access to an endless supply of discarded take-away food.

I used to shout at rats and throw things at them, but they don’t understand me and I always miss. I now take a more laid back approach and merely think bad things about them. I don’t like them but I’m not going to raise my blood pressure over them when it achieves nothing.

I have an inventive solution to the rat problem, which I wrote about a year ago but was never able to find a reason to use it. I have a reason now. It also addresses another modern problem.

They say you’re never more than six feet away from a rat (or two metres for my younger readers) and estimates vary from one rat per person to two rats per person, according to something I was reading recently.

These rats are free range and at six foot the food miles are not great.

Ah, the “food miles” bit rather gives it away. Think about it, rats are seen as a legitimate foodstuff in some parts of the world¬†and they are certainly more traditional than tofu and micro-veg.

Free range local food. If you applied that label to chicken people would pay a premium for it.

I was almost saddened to see that both figures are probably wrong, with only one rat to share between six of us and a distance of 50 metres. However, it’s still a practical proposition, and with the new super rat there will be more meat to go around. Incidentally, that last link also says there will be three times as many rats as people, which is a good example of why it’s a bad idea to believe anything you read on the net.

If you don’t fancy a rat, how about starting with something smaller and cuter – the vole-au-vent. A cute rodent garnished with something tasty in a puff pastry shell. I’m wondering if I could send out a press release and get anyone to believe that. Or to see if I could get Heston Blumenthal interested in the recipe.