Monday 1 December 2014

A ferret called Eichman

Eichman was a large Polecat hob, that is to say he was a male of the species, the females are known as gills. He was about the size of a small cat and, having been well handled, was very tame as far as humans were concern. With all forms of animal life it was quite a different story. True to his species he was a ferocious predator and he didn’t much care what he attacked and killed.

Before he found himself a resident in Kingsley Eichman had resided in, what was then, Courage's Brewery. It would appear, at that time, the brewery was troubled by a serious cat problem. Much like feral farm cats the brewery population had found an acceptable habitat and settled in. It is quite possible that, in the first instance, the cats had actually been introduced to deal with a mouse or rat problem. However, and be that as it may, they did what cats do and embarked upon a highly successful breeding programme. The cat population expanded at an alarming pace. So much so that they became, at best, a pest and at worst a health hazard. It was decided the cat population had to be managed and this meant a drastic reduction of numbers. I am told the attempts to achieve this were half hearted and not very successful. I know not what methods were employed but it would appear that whatever they were was nothing short of a losing battle.

As a result of the above, and the ever increasing cat numbers, a member of staff, (I know not whom it was ), came up with the idea of introducing a ferret to tackle the problem. This, it was considered, would drastically reduce numbers and might, if they were lucky, encourage the cats to vacate the brewery buildings altogether. A presumed spin off was the likelihood that Eichman would deal with any rats or mice he may encounter whilst on cat reduction duties. This all went pretty much to plan, Eichman was adept at cat killing and on quite a grand scale. Large numbers of kittens went to meet their maker and overall the plan was hailed a success. However, all good things must come to an end and Eichman became the subject of some unwelcome attention from the cat loving element amongst the brewery staff. There were dark rumblings of action against the ferret and even darker ones of leaks to the local paper. The thought of the murderous actions of Eichman appearing upon the front page of the local rag was too much for the brewery management. Panic ensued and an order was issued banning the ferret from the establishment.

My brother Robin was working at the brewery at the time and one evening he arrived home with Eichman. As to his name, that came about as a result of the much publicised capture and abduction of Adolf Eichman from South America by Mosad, the Isreali Secret Service. Eichman, it will be remembered was a leading Nazi and had been responsible for murdering many thousands of Jewish people. He was put on trial and executed. The ferret began his cat control when, or shortly after, the real Eichman had featured all over the newspapers. His actions were laid bare for all to read of and as a result of all this and the ferret’s delight in killing things, the poor creature was given the name of Eichman.

He settled in at home and was taken for the occasional walk on a lead. Fitted with a ferret harness attached to the lead he would run along quite happily. On one occasion my brothers and I took him to the old railway line behind the copse which is located on the Kingsley side of the old line and is roughly below the Straits. Here there were rabbit holes and we wanted to try the ferret at a bit of rabbiting. Unfortunately no rabbits were found but on our return journey Eichman became very interested in a pair of white trainers that one of us was wearing. I don’t remember which one of us it was. The return journey was late and darkness had fallen, this, I suppose made the trainers rather more noticeable. The polecat was in no doubt the footwear was killable and he launched a number of strikes against the shoes as they passed his line of sight. Fearing a nasty bite to the wearer he was carried home without further incident. As far as I can recall he lived a good old ferrets life before passing on and, no doubt, dreaming of the glories of cat killing in ferret Heaven.

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