The strange life of a resource researcher at Te Ara – today the office had two rats visit – nice rats for Marguerite to photograph for an entry on Pets (which will be released in late November). Jean very kindly brought in Wendy (a creamy rat) and Lisa (a black and white rat) and as I am typing this, they are being persuaded to pose in front of the camera, having already peed on a number of staff, who gathered around to oohhh and aaahh.It’s not the first time the office has been infested with animal life to photograph – the giant native worms that our botanist found in her garden, brought in and dumped on a table, are still vivid in my mind – we had to have a number of people worm-wrangling to stop them slithering to the floor while I tried to photograph them. (They’ve gone back to a happy life in the soil, I hasten to add.) We’ve had a large praying mantis, some sand hoppers, a bright yellow plastic elephant, some very dead whitebait (the lights didn’t help the smell of those!) and three French travellers. Luckily, despite our recent work on agricultural subjects, we haven’t had sheep, cattle or horses – I think our ingenuity, never mind our carpets, would be stretched.