Rattus norvegicus

Formerly A Rat

Okay, I admit, I opted as a title for this blog entry, the (erroneous, as it happens) Latin name for the brown or common rat, mistakenly dubbed the ‘Norway’ or ‘Norwegian’ rat by John Berkenhout in his 1769 study Outlines of the Natural History of Great Britain, just so that fans of The Stranglers will come across this entry by mistake while trying to google the band’s first album.

I couldn’t help but rush back inside and grab the phone to snap this image, after wandering out on the balcony during a break in the recent torrential rain. The balcony tends to flood. There’s a tiny drainage hole in each corner, but it is usually blocked by the debris of macadamia nut shells, since one of the several macadamia trees around the house towers over this balcony. It is a favourite dining spot for possum and rats, who can often be heard chowing down in the ceiling in the early hours, having shelled their booty on the balcony.

The poor creature depicted must have been overwhelmed by the rising floodwaters during the downpour. It somehow managed to decompose without creating enough of a stink to be noticed.

Persistence of Read Only Memory


I have a tendency to leave coffee mugs and softdrink cans on the desk, the window sill or the filing cabinet, or all of the above if it’s been a while since I’ve bothered to take them down stairs to the kitchen to either wash or bin them. Sometimes scouts for ant colonies discover them, and they get over-run by the insects.

Of late, I haven't minded so much. Comedian Sam Bowring has a great story about leaving the bowl from which he’s eaten ice cream, next to his bed, where, by the next morning, ants have eaten it clean. In Sam’s words, it’s “Good to go again!” They dispurse when I take the cups and cans downstairs, anyway.

I have another tendency to save the boxes my hi-tops (preferred footware) come in. They are exactly the right size in which to file data discs. As a reviewer (comedy DVD review for the Piss Funny column in FilmInk magazine) I frequently receive review discs in paper sleeves or plastic envelopes, rather than in regular covers with full artwork. Furthermore, as a presenter/program producer for the Macquarie Radio Network (comedy show Radio Ha Ha is a hoot; you should already have subscribed to this podcast using iTunes!) I am always saving recordings of live comedy, the raw material for episodes, the finished episodes and the ProTools sessions in which they were edited together, to CD or DVD for future reference. So I have a pile of said boxes full of DVDs and CDs, in cases and in plastic sleeves.


Today I moved one of these boxes, and discovered a bunch of ants, with nothing, really, to eat, and so no reason to have gathered en masse. Closer inspection revealed that they’d chosen some cases in that box, in which to start a fully-fledged nest – it was like something out of a Dali painting. Which makes me wonder if the surrealist tended to leave his coffee mugs and softdrink cans too close to his one pocket watch that wasn’t all bendy and melty.