Harry the Rat....
05 August 2009 | Port Dickson
When your leftover cucumber sandwich mysteriously dwindles overnight, when you've finally found your glasses and inspected your sandwich thoughtfully, when you see little teeth marks around the edges and the crumbs are right next to your pillow then you know you have a little furry friend on board your boat and Armageddon has begun. I can see how Sigourney Weaver's heart pulsated in the movie 'Alien', I understand Big Arny's desperate determination in 'Predator' and will always remember Bambi in 'Bambi Goes to Dallas'. The hunt was on for my f******g furry friend.
I went to see Big Johnny on SY Cloudy Bay, he's an Aussie from Tasmania and he hates the Abbos. He told me "You need to kill it and kill it fast. It can sink your boat". So off I went to see Mr Mousey Ching, the local Chinaman who sells big traps. He was delighted to see me and we sat and drank tea. I explained my problem to Mr Mousey Ching. "I need to catch this killer rat as quickly as possible because my partner Marie and her son Henry arrive in two days time and they hate rats". "Vhy dey hating vats?" Mr Mousey Ching asked. "Because it could sink my boat", I told him, not wanting to get into a detailed discussion about why rats are seriously misunderstood creatures. "Aah, I seeeee...", he said. So I bought three of his biggest traps, which don't actually kill the rat, they trap them inside through a marvellous trap door mechanism and hook trigger device which has to be baited, I reasoned, with cucumber.
Then Big Johnny on Cloudy Bay informed me it could already be too late. "It will eat through your cables, probably the one that feeds your lightening conductor. You will then be unprotected and the next lightening strike will blow out your sea cocks and I guess you'll have about fifteen minutes to abandon ship, if you're lucky". So I set my baited traps, one in the bilge containing our large supply of Sabah Tea (half eaten), one next to the rubbish bin and one in the cupboard with the raisin cornflakes where I know Harry the Rat had already been (don't ask). I set off to the airport to meet Marie and Hen. I'd already decided to tell them nothing. This would all be over before they knew.
Everything went well until the next morning. Marie flung the cabin door open whilst I was reading my newspaper and demanded to know what the big cage was for next to the rubbish bin. "It's a surprise" I said. She gave me the 'look' she gives me often. I explained, "You know the little baby Gecko lizard that lives in our dinghy? I thought I'd try and catch it so that Hen can keep it for a pet in his cabin." We've had a small gecko living under the dinghy housing for about a year and we feed it often. It's dead cute and Hen's always wanted one as a pet. "Mmmmmm" she said. "But don't tell Hen, it's a surprise," I said. However, I was worried.
That's how it all began to go wrong. Henry finally found the traps too. He was really excited, realising he was going to get his pet gecko. He was going to call him Geeky. But he wanted to inspect the traps every ten minutes and I explained that wouldn't work and he needed to not look into the traps ever again. That didn't work either.
In the middle of the night one of the traps sprung and Hen was out of his bunk in a flash, much faster than me, and looked into the trap next to the rubbish bin.......
"MUM, IT'S A RAT......" The next ten minutes rank as some of the most sticky moments I've had for a while. Henry was crying because he wasn't going to get his pet Geeky, Marie was in tears because she's absolutely terrified of rats, Harry the b*****d Rat bit me through the cage wire when I decided he needed to get off the boat fast and Mr Mousey Ching was horrified when I told him I threw the rat overboard, still inside the cage.
Thankfully, everything calmed down by breakfast. We were all trying to be normal. Marie asked me if I wanted a cup of tea and a bowl of cornflakes. "No thanks, I'm still full from yesterday", I said.
Harry the Rat probably climbed on board when we were moored in either Port Lumut or Port Dickson, Malaysia. They are good swimmers I'm told. We slipped our mooring in Port Dickson and made for Singapore where Sänna is now moored. There are no rats in Singapore because they're banned, like everything else that's bad for you. Singapore is unbelievable, it's fantastic!
Everything went really well in Singapore until I took Henry to the Four Floors of Whores........