Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Every baby rat counts

From an early age I was adamant I'd never get married. My views were cemented in my teens when I stumbled across, and managed to comprehend mostly, books including The Female Eunuch, The Women's Room and The Feminine Mystique. I was lucky enough to meet a decent man early on who was keen to get married but not keen to push an issue to which I was so opposed.

So we lived together. We had a tatty couch, lots of spag bol dinner parties and sardonic cat called Biskitt who liked to set up her own indoor safari parks. We were forever tracking down and releasing some terrified piece of wild life Biskitt had brought home for her hunting pleasure. (For the squeamish amongst you I hasten to add that well-fed, middle class Biskitt never managed a kill.)

One evening it was an infant rat, trembling behind one of my chatty chain store cushions. My partner fetched his heavy canvas work gloves from the car, the pair he uses when working in the bush, and retrieved the little rodent from its hiding place. He held it up gently, smiled at it and then carefully turned his cupped hands to me so I could see it too. "Isn't it beautiful?" he said softly.

I knew there were few men so kind and so gentle who would see the value, purpose and aesthetics of a baby rat before releasing it safely down near the flour mill at the end of the lane. I decided that if I were to sign a legally binding contract to declare my exclusive alignment to anyone it would be such a man.

That he turned out to be the kind of man who would order from London a rare Mulberry Bayswater, the elusive one designed to carry the Macbook his clumsy disorganised wife lugs to and from the office on a regular basis, is an added bonus.

And as for his perfect choice of stocking stuffers - well, sometimes you just get lucky.