An extraordinary phrase


I was listening to the Today programme this morning — half asleep as usual — when my brain filtered the following phrase out of the warm fuzz of words:

"...lives blighted by otters"

Take a moment to read that again. The questions 'what?' 'how?' and 'why?' immediately springs to mind. The piece was following on from another yesterday, which noted the welcome recovery in the otter population due to the banning of pesticides like DDT and dieldrin. Not everyone is happy to see the cute little furry critters back: the 'Specialist Anglers Alliance' (carp fishermen) are claiming that the otters are eating all their fish.

The phrase "lives blighted" is usually used when old people are terrorized by groups of delinquent youths, so it brought to mind a fantastic image of gangs of swearing otters, drinking alcopops on river banks and spraying graffiti on trees. "Tarka" would make quite a good graffiti tag, actually...