Hello, and welcome to those who have joined up since our last newsletter.
You’ll all be familiar with the expression “to breed like rabbits”. Well, the latest news from the UK is that they’re living up to their reputation. A survey conducted by the Mammal Society – a repeat of the first one they conducted a decade ago – shows that after humans, and probably rats, rabbits are the most populous of all the mammal species in Britain, with an estimated 40 million hopping about the place. Other species on the up include polecats, which are now four times as numerous as they were ten years ago (must be all those extra rabbits to feed on); badgers, which appear to be benefiting from the clampdown on baiting and gassing; and seals. But mink are now only a third of their 1994 numbers, as their native competitor the otter has recovered from the ill-effects of pesticides in the 1960s. And wild cats in the Scottish Highlands are now down to a few hundred.
Judging from the numbers we’ve seen and heard around here, Thailand’s dominant mammal is the dog. The number of stray dogs roaming around the town – even in semi-rural areas like ours – is really rather worrying. All the more so as rabies is a risk here, although we personally don’t know of anyone who’s contracted it. But there seems to be no interest in trying to reduce the numbers by spaying, castration or any other form of birth control. (Culling probably isn’t an option in an officially Buddhist country.) Our neighbours’ dogs are nearly as much of a nuisance. Because the rent agreements don’t allow pets in the house, most of them seem to be left to roam around the compound at will during the day. One particularly repulsive one which looks like the business end of a mop took to using our driveway as a toilet every morning – until we had a gate built across it. And many of them bark at little or no provocation, but our neighbours don’t seem inclined to train them not to.
Just a couple of suggestions if you have a little time to spare:
The Mammal Society’s website is well worth a look if you’re interested in British wildlife. They’re short on numbers compared to their ornithologist pals, so any support you can give them will no doubt be welcomed.
Ever heard of mondegreens? They’re another term for misheard lyrics. (Taken from Scottish ballad “The Bonnie Earl of Murray” which runs “They hae slain the Earl of Murray,/And laid him on the green” – writer Sylvia Wright thought for years and years that Lady Mondegreen had also been slain.) Find loads more here at the granddaddy of all mondegreen sites:
Some strange search terms which led people to visit British Expat recently:
Till next time…
British Expat Magazine
“If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.”
A burglar broke into a house one night. He shone his torch around, looking for valuables. When he picked up an iPod to put in his bag, a strange, disembodied voice echoed from the dark: “Jesus is watching you.” He nearly jumped out of his skin, turned off his torch and froze.
Hearing nothing more after a while, he shook his head, turned his torch back on and carried on looking for swag. Just as he pulled the stereo out so he could disconnect it, clear as a bell he heard, “Jesus is watching you.” Freaked out, he shone his torch around frantically, looking for the source of the voice. Eventually the beam came to rest on a parrot, sitting in the corner of the room.
“Did you say that?” he hissed aggressively.
“Yes,” the parrot confessed.”I’m only trying to warn you.”
The burglar relaxed. “Warn me, eh? Who the hell are you?”
“Moses,” replied the bird.
“Moses!” the burglar laughed. “What kind of daft people would name a parrot Moses?”
“Probably the same kind of people that would name a Rottweiler Jesus,” the bird replied.
Kay has been an expat for 25 years. She set up the British Expat website more than 15 years ago, whilst living in London and missing the expat life. These days she spends much of her time lugging computers and cameras around the world. (Dave gets to deal with all the really heavy stuff.)