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Volume XXVII, No. 19

Saturday, June 26, 1999             50p.

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Cuppa with Shirley
Ann's Letters
Simon's E-mail
Dining Room
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Letters to the Editor
Don't Call Me Roland

The finding of a rat in the Public Toilets in Upper Puckering has opened up a considerable controversy in the County Council. Mrs. Morcombe, who saw the creature, described it as small and black. The suggestion is that this is another in several sightings of the Black Rat, Rattus rattus, thought to have been driven out of England by its cousin the brown rat more than 200 years ago. Further supporting this is the fact that Mrs. Morcombe  said that the rat leapt at her, a known characteristic of this rodent. Unfortunately Mrs. Morcombe swung her handbag at the creature, squashing it against the wall. Local health official Mark Butlins commented, "There's not much you can deduce  from a smear on a toilet wall."

When asked about the possibility that this may have been the rare Black Rat, Mrs Morcombe replied "A rat is a rat, isn't it?" - Nigel Twicks

BBC News: Black Rat Back in Britain

National Fancy Rat Society

Puckering Profiles:  Homeowners Look to Him for Some Good Ad-Vyse

Most days find Chester Vyse doing what he loves most--peering into damp cellars, climbing atop sagging roofs, or tapping at walls for dry rot or rising damp.  Since 1988, Vyse has combined his post as Puckering's Chief Building Inspector with his passion for the past.  As the county's liaison with English Heritage, Vyse not only studies old buildings; he keeps them looking old by upholding regulations and imposing fines for those whose wish to modernise endangers their special homes.

"It's my job to make sure that new bungalows and terraces are safe from fire and poor workmanship.  With so many new estates being built, that takes quite a lot of time.   But my real love is ensuring that the county's historic properties are well cared for.  Each one has a marvelous story to tell. Through them we keep what's special about the South of England. "

Vyse admits that some people think he's a nuisance.  "You always meet the bloke who wants a satellite dish, or the lady who paints her half-timbered cottage pink," he sighs.  "It's hard to make them understand that they have to respect the building." Whilst this may occasionally be the case, it's clear that most Puckering residents have no difficulty respecting Chester Vyse.--Nigel Twicks

Editorial -- Screaming Lord Sutch

The Puckering Gazette would like to note, with sadness, the passing of entertainer and politician Screaming Lord Sutch. Absurdity highlights the inadequacy of the system, and many of us on election night waited for the pompous voice that was obliged to annouce the results of The Monster Raving Looney Party. Lord Sutch bought pleasure and fun and it seems a tragedy that in the end he couldn't enjoy it as much as we did.

BBC News: Screaming Lord Sutch

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