Fun and Games at the Cricket Club

by Bill Beck

When we attend events we are sometimes approached by people wanting us to come to their own functions, usually to do ferret racing. These are what we grandly call our 'corporate' events, by which I mean that we are requested to do some sort of display for another organisation. Thus it was that we found ourselves with an invitation to visit a local Manchester cricket club.

Unusually, it was an evening fixture and so we turned up with all our gear at about six o'clock and started to set-up outside the pavillion. As we were doing so, a shadowy figure started to sidle towards us from the car park. This bloke looked... well, how shall I describe him? Let's just say that if you were being interviewed by the police and were asked to compose an Identikit picture of your average professional contract axe-murderer, it would look very much like this guy; and he had three dogs with him. I was trying to decide what breeds they were: the best description would be pedigree Frankenstein - they all looked as if they had been badly reconstructed from a selection of body parts chosen at random from just about every breed you could think of, sort of 'mega-mongrels'. Anyway, Mr Hitman says that he has some ferrets that he wants to 'get rid of' and would we like to take them off him? Well, it didn't take much imagination to work out what 'get rid of' might mean if we didn't, so even though we are not a welfare or rescue organisation, we agreed. He sidled off to get them for us.

By this time the weather had started to look a bit iffy, and so at the suggestion of the club steward we moved our racing kit indoors into the only room large enough, which just happened to be the clubhouse bar: well, what a stroke of luck!

We started the ferret racing and after a while the guy we spoke to earlier reappeared with one of the filthiest pet carriers I have ever seen, encrusted with poo and containing a few sheets of urine soaked newspaper plus two rather scruffy poley jills: no food, no water and no bedding. We put the carrier in a little room at the back of the pavillion until we could sort it out properly and returned to the display.

We were having a great time and the children were really enjoying themselves handling and stroking our ferrets between races, when suddenly we heard a commotion from 'off stage'. Apparently, one young lad had seen the newly acquired jills in their carrier and had put his finger through the bars to stroke the ferrets inside: big mistake! He had been well and truly nailed by the larger of the two kits. His mother was in attendance and urged us to 'do everything necessary' to free her son. It was quite plain that if this meant chopping the ferret's head off, this was fine by her. After removing the plastic mesh door of the carrier, Ann managed to get the jill to let go of the lad's finger but only at the expense of some damage to her own hands. We did manage to convince the club members that the incident was not our fault, as they were not even our ferrets (not to mention that putting your fingers into a strange ferret's cage is never a really good idea). However we have not been asked to do ferret racing for them again!

We named the two jills Maisie and Daisy and kept them for a couple of weeks, during which time we succeeded in cleaning them up and calming them down a fair bit; it turned out that they were in better condition than we had first thought.

We did think about keeping them ourselves but when it became obvious that integration with the rest of our brood was going to be well-nigh impossible, we took them to Jude of Dookies Ferret Rescue in Mottram St Andrew, where hopefully they will find a loving home soon.


(First published in NFWS News #91 September 2011)