The guinea pig eater turned out to be a stoat - 16 inches long in a furry tan colour with a urine-yellow belly and a dark tip to the tail. It didn't look happy, but then I couldn't blame it - it was dead. I wouldn't be happy if I was dead. I like animals. I just don't like animals that eat my animals. I felt a little bit guilty gazing at its still and skinny body bearing in mind the stoat was only acting according to it's feral nature, but mostly I felt pleased it couldn't eat anything I have a naming ceremony for in future. The gamekeeper came back yesterday to check the traps in case the stoat had a stoat friend but I'm hoping that's it. He has promised to build me a super-secure run and turn the hutch into the guineapig equivalent of a maximum security holding facility in the Arizona desert. Nothing's getting out and nothing's getting in. Unless the next stoat's got wire-cutters, and a helicopter, and a friend on the inside of course.
Meanwhile, talking of weasels and pest control, I am beginning to feel sorry for Julie Kirkbride. Alright, she pushed the expenses a bit. A lot of bit. Well, her and virtually every other MP out there. And alright, she's patently got terrible what-does-she-see-in-him taste in men. She's done that classic female politician thing of ending up with a very embarrassing husband. But why out of all these blaggards and rogues is there a "Julie Must Go" head of steam building? There's national outrage over the expenses debacle as revealed by the Daily Telegraph - we should have a general election, and start again. But there's always that extra frisson of pleasure when a woman is punished for her misdemeanours isn't there, and she's pretty - even better. When I was reporting on politics, I once arranged lunch with her and there was a mix-up in the bookings. She turned up at the National Portrait Gallery restaurant and I waited at the National Gallery restaurant. Forty minutes and several phone calls later, we managed to meet up. She took it with good grace - many of her self-important colleagues wouldn't. Or, maybe she was hoping for two lunches, one in each restaurant - who knows? But I don't think so. She cocked up on the expenses - along with many others. I imagine she's going to end up having to announce that she's standing down at the next election. If she doesn't, she seems certain to lose the seat anyway. I wonder what would happen if she took a deep breath and gave a proper apology. Not an explanation. A real heartfelt apology - and not one of these Hazel Blears "I understand why everybody feels so angry" apologies for an apology either. One of the things that is making people most angry is the idea that our politicians "just don't get it". People can hear the difference between "I understand why you're upset" and "I'm really, really sorry - I've done something entirely wrong. I admit it. I don't know what I was thinking. Please. Forgive me." Some of our politicians think they are the same thing. They are not. Julie might say sorry, she might think about filling up with tears and even spending one or two on camera. She might mean it - it might work.