The joys of outwitting Nanny
Having been brought up by a normal pair of parents, I never underwent the Nanny experience in childhood. I always imagine Nanny as being well meaning in a rather dim-witted sort of way; not really worth a confrontation over some minor lunacy, one just gets on with things in a way that Nanny doesn't notice.
In the country we used to use a product called Cymag to control rats. It was, in fact, exactly the same as Zyklon B - cyanide powder that gave off cyanide gas when wet. It came in tins that could be bought off the shelf from the local farmer's store complete with a syringe full of adrenaline in case you got an accidental lungful of the stuff yourself. It was tremendously effective in killing rats and I never heard of a single human death over decades of use. It was banned, of course, from sale some years ago in the EU on safety grounds because it was, er, safe and effective, presumably. Or rather because some unusually imaginative Eurocrat had dreamt up a scenario in which young Gunter or Isolde steals the keys to the chemicals shed, climbs a ladder to the top shelf, takes the tin marked with skulls and crossbones and 'poison!' warnings, opens it and eats the contents with an EU-approved spoon. Anyway, I'm glad to report that a Suffolk farmer friend is importing eastern European cyanide and the rats of Anglia are again facing the final solution. The joy is that he is breaking not criminal law but EU law - if he is caught, the British government gets fined.
I've been busy over the last couple of days getting Raedwald's engine out for a re-bore and other stuff. The engine bay and bilges are in sad need of a heavy-duty degreasing. And I mean industrial. The problem is, there isn't a single product left for sale in the EU that is any more effective than using washing-up liquid. All banned on safety grounds. The Americans, thank God, are more grown-up about these things. I found a 'gray market' importer of an American industrial degreaser of astounding strength and ordered a (US) gallon. "There's no safety data sheet" the guy warned "Splendid!" I replied. "And after 1st June I'd have to melt rabbits in it before I could sell it" he continued, "New EU testing law thingy". Reader, I am an adult and am quite aware that this stuff will strip the flesh from my hand faster than a Pirhana if I soak my cuticles for more than a few seconds. I shall therefore take whatever precautions are necessary to keep my typing fingers intact, and spare the lives of innocent bunnies.
The Telegraph warns today that throwing your dog-end on the street will earn you a fine from one of the army of jobsworths that now patrol our towns in lieu of policemen. I've always thought dropping my dog-ends on the pavement was rather vulgar anyway, and for years have carefully dropped them down gully gratings in the road channel. I have checked the appropriate sections of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act (s.18(1) to s.18(3) if anyone is interested) and find that as the drain is not a place open for access to the public, I can quite happily continue to do this. Would that the chewers of gum do the same.
Robert Graves wrote:
Gone are the drab monosyllabic days
When "agricultural labour" still was tilth.
And "100 % approbation", praise;
And "pornographic modernism", filth -
Yet still I stand by tilth and filth and praise.
As the paper also reports today that the RSPB has banned the word 'cock' from its website, I wonder how long it will be before some minimally cerebrally equipped primary school head removes all trace of the children's rhyme 'Who killed Cock Robin?' from the school's shelves. Or references to stopcocks are replaced by shut-off valves. Sigh. I must remember to correct my host at the end of next year's rough shooting season when he counsels us "we're only shooting cocks this weekend".