Friday, September 26, 2008

For food and for fun

There are 10'000 edible dormice in the UK, and the all live within about 200 square miles between Beaconsfield, Aylesbury and Luton.

Nowadays we are most likely to hear the name "dormouse" in what is known as the "dormouse test"; as explained by The Guardian's Tom Holland: "the principle that the longer it takes for the delicacy to be mentioned in a drama set in ancient Rome, the more authentic the reconstruction is likely to be".
The juicy meat of the dormouse was considered good food in ancient Rome.

The animal was introduced to England in 1902, through the second Baron Rothschild's collection. Apparently some or all of his dormice escaped, and established themselves in farm houses in the surrounding areas.

Although they can cause great damage to woodwork, wires, and water vats, I imagine that seeing one run up a glass window and slide down - just for fun - would almost make us forgive them.