Thursday, 4 October 2018


The first mists of autumn were swirling this morning. It’s a strange old time of year. The evenings are closing in at a fast rate of knots. We get a little reprieve when the clocks go forward... or back... or whatever it is that happens in a few weeks’ time, and then it’s the slow march towards winter and we all wonder where on earth the year went and why we suddenly feel so cold. (Unless you’re a hairy old bear like me of course, when you start to feel an ordinary temperature!)

I find Autumn a very inspiring time, which almost certainly has its roots in going back to school and the fresh beginnings and opportunities a new term always promised.

But re-birth also carries the weight of death.

I had a rather distressing phone call from Nathan yesterday, who told me that he’d seen the rat. Actually, the news came in stages, over a series of phone calls. Firstly he’d seen a loaf of bread which looked like it had been gnawed at by a rat. Then he saw the rat scuttling about in the dustbins. Then he called to say that the rat wasn’t running away from him any more and that she’d started to get sluggish. It soon became clear that the rat had eaten the poison which the man from Rentakill had put down earlier in the week. 

It is hugely distressing to see an animal suffering, particularly when you know it’s something you’ve sanctioned. Nathan decided to wrap the creature in a towel to make her as comfortable as possible in her last few hours. When I got back from rehearsals, her little head was poking out of the towel. She plainly couldn’t move, but her eyes were alert, staring up at me. It was awful.

I don’t think she made it through the night. She’d disappeared into the towel by the time I woke up. I could see a patch of her back, a little flash of her grey, silky coat, but it didn’t seem to be moving.

I am officially a murderer.

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