Thursday, 23 January 2020

Rains Thursday Art Date - The Year of the Rat

Hi Everybody!

Today Rain's  theme is 'Chinese New Year', which is the year of the rat, so I made  a page for all who celebrate:


I love the Chinese decorations and fireworks:





Rats always have a very bad reputation as animals and most people are afraid of rats and the diseases many of them carry. From ancient time rats - and mice - have been feared and hated by humans. They breed extremely quickly, and help themselves to supplies which people regard as their right to have. And the word 'rat' is often used very derogatorily. But on the other hand, they are very intelligent creatures who have an enormous talent for survival. When my daughter was at school they had white rats in a cage in her classroom, and she always brought them home at weekends and holidays to look after them. Or rather for me to look after them, as she didn't do it. I loved watching them, and playing with them, and they got on well with our dog, Struppi, and even with out cat, Kitty, and it was good to see them all playing peacefully together and not attacking or hunting each other. The rats, Ernie and Bert, respected that Kitty was Queen of the house, and it was a fun time for us all! People could learn a lot from animals! And a 'bookworm' in English is a 'Leseratte' (reading rat) in German. I love devouring books!

Some rat photos from Pexels:









And of course, rats are always popular in liteRATure:

Nineteen Eighty-four by  George Orwell-No book has more effectively demonised our rodent neighbours. "The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world." For Winston Smith, this can mean only one thing: rats! At the very thought, he is a broken man.
The Tale of Samuel Whiskers by Beatrix Potter Another ratty nightmare, in which the inquisitive Tom Kitten goes exploring up a chimney and blunders into the apartment of a huge old rat and his baleful spouse. They tie him up and cover him with dough, as a prelude to feasting on him. At the last minute he is rescued by a dog.
The Rats by James Herbert. A very gruesome bestseller, which opens with a tramp being eaten alive by giant rats and continues in this vein. Throughout London, more and more people fall victims to the ravenous rodents (whose bites also cause deadly disease). Even worse, the rats communicate with each other and have a leader with two heads. Herbert wrote two ratty sequels.
(I am re-reading this trilogy just now, and can warmly recommend it to those who like a bit of horror....)

"God's Judgement on a Wicked Bishop" by Robert Southey. Nasty Bishop Hatto herds the starving poor into a barn and sets fire to it. But vengeance will come. An army of rats pursues him and corners him in his tower. "And in at the windows, and in at the door, / And through the walls by thousands they pour; / And down from the ceiling and up through the floor, / From the right and the left, from behind and before, / From within and without, from above and below, / And all at once to the Bishop they go." Soon, only his bones are left.
"The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire" by Arthur Conan Doyle .The scariest rat of all? This domestic mystery, involving a jealous sibling and a supply of poisoned darts, has one of the most tantalising rat references in literature. Holmes mentions "the giant rat of Sumatra, a story for which the world is not yet prepared". Several novelists have written the tale that Doyle never penned.
"The Pied Piper" by Robert Browning "Rats! / They fought the dogs, and killed the cats, / And bit the babies in the cradles, / And ate the cheeses out of the vats, / And licked the soup from the cook's own ladles, / Split open the kegs of salted sprats, / Made nests inside men's Sunday hats, / And even spoiled the women's chats, / By drowning their speaking / With shrieking and squeaking / In fifty different sharps and flats. . ."
"The Rats in the Walls" by HP Lovecraft In this classic horror tale, the rats lead the narrator to horrific discoveries. Investigating the noises that they are making in the walls of his ancestral home, he finds an underground city whose denizens are cannibals. The narrator is driven mad and ends up in an asylum, still hearing rats in the walls.
La Peste by  Albert Camus. Rats are victims too. One day, in the Algerian port of Oran, Dr Bernard Rieux sees a dead rat. Soon the city's inhabitants begin to notice the increasing number of dead or dying rats, and their fears turn to panic. The authorities organise the collection and burning of the rats, which merely helps spread the disease. It is an allegory, but of what?
"William the Rat Lover" by Richmal Crompton Our hero sets out to vindicate the reputation of rats, innocent victims of malicious rat-catchers. William feeds the local rats so generously that they become attached to him and follow him around, allowing him inadvertently to win a children's fancy dress competition as the Pied Piper.
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. Funny that one of the best-loved characters in children's fiction should be called "Ratty". But is the jovial animal who befriends shy Mole and introduces him to Toad actually a rat? Or is he a vole? The debate rages. 

( Article by JM, Printed by 'The Guardian' Newspaper, 2009)

And here's a photo of the nasty  'Samuel Whiskers' as painted by Beatrix Potter.

And to take your minds off rats, here some photos from Sunday's walk:



Huge fungi:



Catkins along the path:







 I sometimes think that horses can't read, as there are always horses walking along this path:



And last but not least, a greeting to David:



Have  great day, take care,
and thanks a lot for coming by!

68 comments:

  1. Thank you, Valerie! Now I really feel flattered. As for rats, they are as you say intelligent creatures, but they can be serious vectors of disease and can decimate bird populations when they invade isolated breeding colonies. We had two in our backyard a few months ago, but I haven't seen them for quite a while now. Enjoy the weekend coming up.

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    1. Rats in the yard is something I don't want to see. We have to be careful here as we are very near a stream where they like to live!

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  2. Such a fun post! Our son requested a pet rat when he was 12, it lived 7 years which was in its self amazing, Goldie was her name, clean, clever, and much loved. She was white and gold , nothing nasty about her but the wild rats terrify my lol we don’t see many here. It’s very cold maybe that’s why, I don’t like mice either lol,

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    1. YEs, there's a big difference between tame rats and the wild populations.

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  3. THAT's a huge fungi!! Let's keep those rats to Literature, they scare me.

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    1. Rats are definitely safer in books, even though they can be scary, too.

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  4. wowzer, what a fun and interesting post...love the details and it's all amazing.xx

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  5. LiteRATure :-)
    Ich hatte früher Mäuse, sie wussten, was meine Ohren sind, krabbelten hoch und erzählten mir Geschichten, waren stubenrein, intelligent.
    Letztes Jahr hatten wir das Glück in Perth bei den Chinese New Year Festen dabei zu sein, es war toll.

    Der Pilz ist irre! Und schön.
    Dir einen schönen Tag, GlG, Iris

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    1. Danke! LiteRATure konnte ich nicht wiederstehen!

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  6. Liebe Valerie,
    was für ein Ratten Jahr in China bei dir, süss und amüsant, was alles gibt dazu!
    Schön dein Posting dazu und auch deine aussehende Austerpilze am Baum und die Würstchen am Baum so nenne ich sie, hatschi mache ich da gleich. Überall sind sie da jetzt schon viel zu früh.
    Ja, ich habe gehört die wollen die Kanadagänse verjagen bei euch am Rhein! Das geht ja überhaupt nicht!
    Ich wünsche dir einen schönen Donnerstag!
    Lieben Gruss Elke

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    1. Danke Elke! Ich iebe die Gänse und wäre sehr böse wenn leute sie verjagen würde. Freut mich dass Du mein Rattenposting gut fandest!

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  7. Great artwork Valerie and I agree that rats are a much maligned creature of nature. I don't mind them in small numbers, it's just en masse that's scary!
    Thanks for sharing all the lovely photos and adore the giant funghi.
    Have a great rest of week, Fliss xx

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    1. Thanks Fliss. You are so right, hordes of rats are scary and dangerous!

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  8. Great page and I love all your great photos. Hope you have a lovely day.

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  9. I am a year of rat. It's kind of a strange animal to have as part of your horoscope, as you explained so well. But all things are good and bad, aren't they? Thanks for this really informative post and all the fascinating books. I am a reading rat so I guess being born in the year of the rat fits! (And I like to think I am pretty smart also-smile) Happy Thursday-hugs-Erika

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    1. Thanks. Yes, you are smart, so it fits. I'm a dog! Not bad, either. Those ratty books are all good!

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  10. Valerie,

    I'm not a fan of rats or mice or anything that can get inside my home. I agree, they are smart critters. I remember when I was a teen, there was a horror film about a horde of rats attacking and feeding on people. That was so creepy. The way they made it look so real was putting peanut butter on the actors bodies. Incidentally peanut butter makes great bait for catching mice. :) I never thought about rats being in literature but there's a good number of children's stories that illustrate rats. Let's not forget there have been plenty of rats in animated TV series Arthur is one of them. :)

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    1. I'm glad I don't have any rodents here, I would hate to have to give them my precious peanut-butter!

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  11. I'm not fond of rats though when I was in college and taking a psychology lab class, we used white rats to conduct experiments. The white rats, Sprague-Dawleys, are bred because they are intelligent and docile. My lab partners and I trained our rat to bowl. Well we trained him to put a marble on an incline at the end were some tiny chess pawns that were arranged to look like bowling pins. When the marble came down the incline it would knock down some of the pins. The only shot the rat couldn't make was a 7-10 split😺 Oh, and for rat movies, don't forget the horror movie, Willard. Wow, that fungi looks like a giant hibiscus flower. Enjoy your day!

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    1. Yes, they are clever, I've never seen one bowling before! I don't know Willard, must have a look! Thanks.

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  12. Fabulous post. The art, the photos are amazing and the info on rats.Yes they are smart little things. However, here on the OR coast they are rampit and get into everything. At night I can see them running along the top of my fence to get to where they are going. I can't have a garden because they ravage it. Not only do we have regular size rats we have huge river rats, and the even bigger Nutria rat. Yeahhhh I don't like rats.

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    1. Yes, they can be a nuisance. There are lots of nutrias here, but they stick to the streams leading to the Rhine and don't come near the garden!

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  13. I'm not big on rats unless they are wearing clothes. But I love those lanterns!

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  14. Rats in literature are fine. In real life, not so much. They are prolific pests here in the south, and there just are not enough predators to keep them in check.

    Your scenic photos are always a pleasure :)

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    1. And even in literature, rats can be very scary.

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  15. Glad you got the horse shots in there:) That big ole fungi looked like a flower didn't it? Loved hearing the story about your daughter bringing home rats and how well they got along. When we lived in the country our cats were indoor/outdoor. Anything outdoor was fair game for the cats, but if the mice made it inside the cats figured they were part of the household and didn't hunt them:)
    One particular individual came to mind on your Year of the Rat piece. Rather fitting;)
    How are those fingers?
    Hugs

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    1. Animals can adjust to their 'family's surprisingly well. Now, I wonder which individual you are thinking of!? 2 legged, greedy rats are much worse than the four legged sort. My fingers are really bad again.

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  16. I have to admit I'm not a fan of rats. Our small black cat once brought one home from over the road, it was hanging out of her mouth on both sides, and nearly as big as she was. She looked so proud of herself! Have a great day, Sue xx

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  17. Valery you post the best posts in blog land. So interesting, beautiful photos and very informative!! Thank you!

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  18. Well, Valerie, I LOVE mice! I know it is strange, but it is true. And if my husband accepted, I would love to have a hamster. But, for now, I have a canary! And I love his sing!
    And the huge mushrooms are great!!!!
    Kisses!!!

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    1. They are sweet creatures, except if you have dozens of them trying to get into your house! And a canary is beautiful, I love birds.

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  19. I am not a big fan or rats and mice either, ok if they stay outside, but not inside. We had a mouse inside last winter and it had a great time in my fabric stash!! Not good!! That fungi is amazing, so huge.

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    1. Oh dear, for the mouse it must have been paradise, but not nice for you! This was the biggest fungus I've seen in a long time.

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  20. Lovely though the photos you shared of the rats, I cannot say they are a favourite animal of mine, they would have me standing on a chair and shouting for someone to move them.
    It is a fantastic page you created for Chinese new Year and the photos from your walk are always a joy to see.
    Yvonne xx

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    1. I wouldn't want them in the house either, not wild rats, but spiders are even worse for me!

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  21. While I am not a fan of the disease rats carry by having fleas, I respect them as successful, adaptable and clever animals. They are very good mothers as well, moving their babies away from danger by carrying them in their mouths to safety. I love all your info about rats in literature..and love your Chinese New year lay-out!!

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    1. True. Many animals are often better mothers than some humans!

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  22. I love your rat art, it is charming! I also loved your story of the rats that came to visit from school. Also your fungi photos are fantastic too!

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    1. Thanks. That fungus was really something special.

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  23. Lovely art.
    Fabulous photographs, especially the giant fungi.
    Sorry your fingers are bad again, hoping they do improve for you soon.

    My good wishes.

    All the best Jan

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  24. Interesting post.. Rats are cute animals

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  25. As I was doing research for Year of the Rat, I read that the rat is so cunning, it is the first of the 12 Chinese animal symbols. Legend has it that the rat asked for a ride on the back of an Ox. Once the Ox got close to the finish line, the rat jumped off and won the race, thus making it the first of the 12 symbols. Loved what you made. That's a beautiful Chinese New Year work of art. I love it.

    Great photos today, but I SWOONED over the beautiful black swans. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your new banner, dear.

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    1. Thnaks E, I thought you would like the swans!

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  26. Great photos and art Valerie, and interesting to read about the literature rats. Just sitting in my lounge, and watching a rattie running back and forth across my garden patio, possibly feeding young ones with the seeds dropped from my bird feeder. Wouldn't want to harm her, but hoping I don't get any little visitors in my house!
    Alison xx

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  27. Loving your new banner.. so romantic!! That's the cutest looking rat i've ever seen on your digi page Valerie hee hee!! Great combo Chinese new year is so vibrant giving us a splash of colour through the Winter months. This is the first year I have not made anything for Chinese New Year but I did help my Mother in Law transform a mouse into a rat for a cross stitch card she needed to make for her neighbours so I don't feel too bad about missing out.
    That Fungus on the tree stump is as beautiful as a flower, what a find.
    Wishing you a Happy PPF, take good care of yourself.. Hugs Tracey xx

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    1. That must have been a wondrous transformation to turn a mouse into a rat and then in cross stitch, wow!

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  28. Rats do have a bad reputation, don't they? When I worked in the hospital a bazillion years ago, I rescued one of the very young lab rats and turned him into a pet. Named him Murphy. (After Murphy's Law.) He would eat and drink droplets of water from my finger, and he was actually quite tame. Until one of the other lab techs started tormenting him by him with a pencil ... and Murphy bit him. (He deserved it!) Then we couldn't keep him in the lab anymore. But as much as I liked Murphy, I HATE having those critters in our attic, as we'd experienced a time or two. I don't like hearing their scritching and scratching up there. I think of all the feces and the germs, and worry about them chewing on the wiring or whatever. Thankfully, our attic is "vacant" at the moment. :)

    Have a wonderful weekend, dear lady.

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    1. Murphy sounds like quite a character! And I hope your attic stays vacant!

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  29. Hi Valerie! :) Lovely post!!! I love all of the photos you posted as well as the information about rats! And I really love that you put so many excerpts from liteRATure lol! That made me smile! The idea of an "army of rats" is probably the most frightening for me. Anything that moves really fast makes me yell "eek!" but I have handled squirrels and mice before. I just don't really like the rat's tails!

    We don't have rats here in the mountains, I used to see them more in the city. We have little mice which is somehow okay for me lol...lovely photos of your walk, I love that horse!!

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    1. That horse is one of my faves, and very friendly, too! An army of rats is really a scary thought, huh!

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  30. Those rat pics are so cute☺

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  31. Fab Chinese New Year pics!! I had a friend who had pet rats and loved playing with them too:) Beautiful photos of animals and nature. Happy PPF!

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  32. Your chinese new year page is fasinating. Rats in movies and books hold my interest but thats as far as my admiration goes. After that my thoughts are pest

    Thanks for dropping by my blog today. Happy PPF

    Much🎨love

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  33. What an enormous beautiful fungi. I saw a rat in my garden the other week. It climbed up a shrub to get to the bird feeder. I've not seen it since the bird feeder was moved but I think it will still be around.

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  34. Wow Valerie, so much artwork - you've been so busy, full of creative surprises xx
    Those ratty eyes are so cute!!
    Love your walk too, the fungi ...incredible! Beautiful scenery

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  35. Happy Chinese New Year, and happy PPF too! I loved all your shares, thank you!

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  36. Love your photos and all the rat info!! That fungi looks like a giant art bowl!! Gorgeous!!

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  37. Very interesting information about unusual but despised animals. Beautiful photographs and works.

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  38. Such a fun post. Happened to meet a rat at a traveling zoo exhibit a few weeks ago. Love your photos!

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  39. the lantern photo.... LOVE. You even made rats look sweet in photos here

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