Once the plaything of the Victorians, the Radar Mouse – Biffordshire’s acoustically over-endowed small mammal – had one of the most obscure of all the roads towards endangerment.
Initially, they thrilled our ancestors with the discovery that, by forcing air through the mouse, a tune could be played. However, after the inventing of the mechanical mouse pipe, the fad of blowing small mammals quickly died out.
Looking like a cross between a common mouse and the ear trumpet used by Madame Fanny in the BBC comedy, Allo Allo!, the Radar Mouse had long cut a curious dash amongst the woodlands of our fair shire.
The few that remain live a life typical to a common mouse but have evolved a curious survival technique. When threatened, they can reverse their talents and emit a loud noise similar to a Chinook gaining altitude. This shocks the approaching predator into thinking that they are about to be sucked into a whirling vortex of rotor blades, giving the mouse ample time to beat a hasty retreat.
Common belief holds that the decline of the Radar Mouse was due to an epidemic of Pirate Radio stations that cropped up in Biffordshire in the early 90’s. The Mouse, with its complicated attenuation was thought to have been able to pick up these off-piste shows over 30 miles away from their source.
Driven mad by the harmonics of Drum ‘n Bass ruff cuts, over 90 per cent of this native species were lost when a stampeding pack of Radar Mice threw themselves in to Buttercludge gorge.
Frank Leyspeaking, president of the Biffordshire Association of Failed Creatures, recalls the scene…
“It were horrible I tell you. They were cuing up to jump!
“It fair makes me shiver to think of those poor little mites, falling to their demise with nothing but the soundtrack of ‘Bump up da eeezee rider caaaaammmm down!!!’ playing in their little heads.
“All those tiny bodies…… Still, I had me wife knock up this lovely set of gloves with the remains. Look! She even kept their little noses on!”
Happily, the Radar Mouse is a creature very much on the bounce. Since the culling of the Pirate DJs back in 2010, the remaining mouse population (believed to have survived by corking their ear trumpets) has been on the rise with sightings cropping up regularly across Biffordshire.
We can only hope that the happy parping of these tiny creatures continues to become more common-place.
Nestling like a duckling amongst the hills of the Nylwolds, the historic and picturesque county of Biffordshire casts a contented and ambivalent attitude towards the modern rat-race. But the shire was forged in modernism and many are unaware of those that have fought and gouged for the land and its delights in times long past.
In short, Biffordshire was built on blood, grit and cake.
Indeed, so infamous is Biffordshire’s history of violence and struggle, it is a little known fact that the onomatopoeia ‘Biff’, oft used in 60’s comic book TV adaptations, originates from our furious past.
The area was originally claimed by a Land Baron named Framley Speckle-Sheet, who conquered the land from its native people – the Axfrough Pigmy tribe. The battle raged for over an hour and a half with both sides equal in terms of numbers, but each using very different tactics.
Baron Speckle-Sheet utilised a V formation for his troops after noting the success of migrating geese and their aggressiveness when cornered. Indeed, Speckle-Sheet encouraged his fighters to honk vigorously at their opponents to intimidate and confound.
The tribe leader, Esk-va-hught, (which roughly translates as ‘Basket of Case’ in our modern tongue) having studied colonies of mice, ordered his people to independently run around in random circles looking for scraps of food and soft material with which to build nests.
As you can imagine, with such even hands, very few survived the clash with both sides reporting losses in excess of 85 per cent. These numbers were disputed when, in 1975, a colony of 13th generation Axfrough were found living in a hollow tree around the original site of the battle – their ancestors having successfully nested there during the slaughter.
Speckle-Sheet ultimately prevailed after he personally killed Esk-va-hught by forcing a Chess pawn up his nose, embedding it in the tribe leader’s frontal cortex. No easy feat in the heat of the battle.
The remaining Axfrough were hounded across the border into what we now call Glockenshire where they remained until being wiped out in the great scissor famine of 1686.
Biffordshire, or Sheetik-Ily-Shankle as it was then known, enjoyed a period of relative calm for the next 150 years being presided over by the Speckle-Sheet lineage. But the coming of the Industrial Revolution and the building of the earwig factories was about to change the landscape for ever….
Next time on The History of Biffordshire… Bryan explores the land wrangles of the capitalists that help shape the counties wealth and also gives an insight to why the local architecture so closely follows that of Lithuania.
Bryan will be hosting a local history and narcotics presentation at next month’s Shire Horse Show and Shine at Hexblightly Show Ground in the tent directly behind the Dubstep arena. Please remember to bring your own specimen bottles as stock may be limited on the day.