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Ratting Day

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  • Bob Conrich
    Last Friday - the 13th - saw the annual Tristan da Cunha Ratting Day. This Public Holiday, held during the May school holiday, entails almost the entire
    Message 1 of 3 , May 19, 2005
      Last Friday - the 13th - saw the annual Tristan da Cunha
      Ratting Day. This Public Holiday, held during the May
      school holiday, entails almost the entire community out
      hunting with dogs in gangs, with groups meeting in
      Potato Patches Camping huts for lunch and a celebratory
      dance in the evening. The most successful rat hunting
      team was the “Red Body Hill” who caught 27.8 rats per
      team member. The longest rat tail was brought in by the
      same team. The tail measured 26.1 centimetres.


      Courtesy Saint FM Radio, St. Helena
    • Bob Conrich
      Ratting Day by Sarah Glass Sartma Reprinted in today s St. Helena Independent Yes it is this time of year again, when the Tristanians were to get their pay
      Message 2 of 3 , May 19, 2006
        Ratting Day
        by Sarah Glass
        Sartma
        Reprinted in today's St. Helena Independent


        Yes it is this time of year again, when
        the Tristanians were to get their pay
        back on the rats and mice which had
        done damage to their vegetables, and
        cause them to make everything rat
        proof.
        Ratting Day this year was due to be held
        on Thursday the 11th May, however due
        to bad weather and lots of rain, it was
        held the following day on Friday the 12th
        May.
        This is an important day in the calendar
        for Tristan as it’s a day when groups
        come together to hunt rats and have a
        meal together, not to mention the many
        bottles and cans of 5% fruit juice that
        was consumed throughout the day. Although
        it was overcast first thing in the
        morning, there was no wind and the sun
        beamed out later in the day, which was
        a blessing for all, especially the children,
        who also had all their gadgets on how
        to catch a mouse. The Acting Agriculture
        Officer signalled the day by the striking
        of the dong, an empty gas cylinder
        hanging in the center of the village, just
        daylight. From then on lights started
        coming on in the houses, vehicles
        started up to take the teams hunting
        around the patches with mousetraps,
        dogs were barking, signaling the day had
        began.
        The men hunting in the fields surrounding
        the patches followed with their dogs.
        The women as usual followed later with
        refreshments to encourage their teams
        on, and to prepare lunch and catch up
        with friends at the various camping huts
        around the patches.
        Nine teams took part in the hunt for
        which there were the following prizes;
        Most Tails, Second Most Tails, Third
        most Tails, Longest Tail, Second Longest
        Tail, Booby Prize.
        Nine teams took part, the most tails per
        man were won by the “Twitty Patch
        Gang”, second most tails per man, “Below
        The Hill Gang” and the third most
        tails per man, “Bills Hill Gang” the longest
        tail “Bills Hill Gang” the second longest
        tail “Twitty Patch Gang” and off
        course the booby prize awarded to “Old
        Pieces Gang” (ladies tights and what
        have you not!!).
        All tails were handed in at the Agriculture
        Officers clinic to be counted, and
        this was carried out be the Acting Agriculture
        Officer the Medical Officer and
        the Anglican padre, with the Acting Administrator
        as referee. Much goodhumored
        mockery, and some disrespectful
        remarks were made insisting
        that cheating had taken place, when
        some heard that they had not won, but
        then someone insisted that the Padre
        would certainly not lie!!
        After the count it was home to brush up
        for the evenings dance at the Prince
        Philip Hall to end an enjoyable day, and
        being Saturday and not a working day
        the next day, made it all the sweeter.
        The Acting Administrator, the Medical
        Officer and the Acting Agriculture Officer
        were at the dance to presented the
        prizes.
        Total tails caught 1,105, with the longest
        tail being 257mm.
      • Bob Conrich
        Friday 6th June saw this year s Ratting Day. For various reasons it has been impossible to hold it sooner, which meant that although dry and calm, the weather
        Message 3 of 3 , Jun 13, 2008
          Friday 6th June saw this year's Ratting Day. For various reasons it
          has been impossible to hold it sooner, which meant that although dry
          and calm, the weather was a bit cooler than we would have liked. And
          by this time of year the rats have burrowed deeper, requiring more
          work to dig them out.

          The gangs sent out at first light. There were 8 teams - Below The
          Hill, Coolers, Daily's Hill, Bill's Hill, Farm, Second Watron, Red
          Body Hill and Twitty Patch.

          The Administrator and the MO, among others, provided transport for the
          families out to the Patches later during the morning and back in time
          for the judging at 1800.

          Also reported from Tristan is that on the night of Friday 6th June
          someone saw two distress flares in the distance to the west of
          Inaccessible. Nothing was heard on the radio distress frequency,
          despite frequent calls by Andy Repetto. Andy reported the incident to
          Cape Town maritime, but there were no reports of any missing vessels.
          They are currently checking with Rio and Montevideo.

          --courtesy Radio Saint FM, St. Helena
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