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There's a rat in me compost...

  • Justin Rowlatt -
  • 3 Jan 07, 05:36 PM

rat203.jpgThey say you can go anywhere in Britain's cities, and you'll never be more than six feet from a rat. I've even seen reports that claim that rats are now as numerous as people.

I've always been a bit sceptical of these stories. The last time I came face-to-face with a rat was a couple of years ago outside the BBC. I know what you are thinking but this one was of the rodent variety and ducked into the bushes as I passed. I fear I may very soon establish a much more intimate acquaintance with our burrowing buddies.

When I went out to deposit the peelings and parings of the season in the compost I discovered evidence of what appears to be an assault on our bin.

I would insert a picture of the three inch diameter hole dug in the earth beneath the bin and the foot or so of debris sprayed out behind it but I am staying with Bee's mum for a couple of days and don't have the technical capability to do so. I know that will make diagnosis difficult but please do your best. What I want to know is whether this is indeed the work of a rat? And if so, what can I do about it?

I was rather hoping that some keen-eyed zoologist would tell me that this is unmistakably the work of a fox. It wouldn't surprise me, there are no shortage of foxes locally.

In fact our foxes have all the urban swagger of hip hop artists. You see them by and night, and they happily pass within feet of pedestrians with little more than a snarl and a glare. But are they really likely to raid my compost?

I think the evidence suggests a smaller animal. I've tried to flush whatever it is out. I've given the in a good kick and even prodded around with a garden fork (admittedly rather gingerly) in the compost itself. The huge snarling rodent I was expecting did not materialise.

Before you ask I have been very scrupulous about not composting cooked food. Our bin holds only garden waste, raw vegetable peelings, some shredded newspaper and the occasional eggshell or teabag.

I'm hoping that this was a single foray and that whatever invaded the bin was disappointed by what it found and will not return but I know that is probably optimistic. So, to misquote UB40, there's a rat in me compost, what me gonna do?

Welsh Haze

  • Newsnight
  • 3 Jan 07, 04:57 PM

Tich GwilymSo if it wasn't Jimi Hendrix jammin' the Welsh national anthem who was it?

Yesterday you were all very sceptical that the man hailed by many as the greatest rock guitarist ever to have lifted a plectrum was behind this - a kind of Electric Ladyland of My Fathers if you will.

Many suggested
that it is actually by Wales' own guitar legend Tich Gwilym (pictured), who died in a house fire in 2005. Others strenuously refute this - not least our own Jones - producer Meirion.

So is it Tich? Does anyone out there know?

Wednesday, 3 January, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 3 Jan 07, 04:46 PM

Home Office websiteDoes immigration really benefit Britain? In what way? We ask those on both sides of the argument to make a film outlining their views and then discuss.

In her only British TV interview we speak to Oprah Winfrey about her $40m school for leadership among girls in South Africa. Watch a preview here.

Plus, our Celtic heritage and Jimi Hendrix (Slight Return).

Gavin's on at 2230GMT - you can comment below.

Tuesday, 2 January, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 3 Jan 07, 12:21 PM

blair_maliki203100.jpgWe're a bit short of clairvoyants here on Newsnight - otherwise some of us would already have won the lottery and would no doubt be spending January living next to a retired Bee Gee somewhere in Florida.

But it does not take much of a crystal ball to predict that two of the biggest stories of the year ahead will be how the United States tries to disentangle itself from Iraq, and how the British political system reacts to the end of the Blair era.

We devote most of tonight's programme to these two enormous issues which affect all of us.

Also: dangerous dogs; Asian corner shops; and Jimi Hendrix... or not.

Comment on Tuesday's programme here.

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