Local man, Martin Shuttlecock, today felt it necessary to explain how he has adopted a snow leopard, a Sherlock Holmes loving private detective and a colony of fruit bats - who all currently reside in his loft - even though nobody with any sense is remotely interested.
Shuttlecock explained that it all began with a knock on his front door in late August. Upon answering the door, he found himself confronted by a large man, dressed in late Victorian era apparel, resembling a 'hard' Cockney version of Sherlock Holmes, complete with deerstalker hat.
"It was a bit weird," Shuttlecock said. "Because I was dressed as a drag queen at the time, making one of me YouTube videos which nobody ever watches anyway."
Shuttlecock went on to say that the caller introduced himself as armfeetandtoe, brushed past him, plonked himself down on the sofa, commenced making a roll up cigarette, demanded a beer out of the fridge and said that he was the Shuttlecock's new lodger, and that he'd be moving into the garden shed.
"There's not a lot you can say about that," Shuttlecock said. "But he seemed like a pleasant sort of a chap, so I told him it would be okay for him to move into the shed, providing he didn't fiddle about with me bike."
Things went well for the Shuttlecocks and their new shed resident, until the weather 'turned' in late October. Responding to frantic pounding on the back door, Shuttlecock was confronted by the lodger once again. Brushing past the hapless landlord, the lodger, known by this time as Arm, complained:
"Cold be lud. I shall move up der loft. I shall collect me toenails at a later date."
With that, the new lodger and former shed dweller went up the stairs and disappeared into the loft.
"I didn't see him for a week or so after that," Shuttlecock explained. "In fact, I wouldn't have even known he was there, but for the fact that the wife and I could hear him saying his prayers of a night time. Asking God to forgive Moriarty and that. As we lay in bed."
All went well for quite some time, with the Shuttlecocks happy with their new lodger - apart from the night time prayers for the redemption of Moriarty's soul, and the occasional outbreak of Stanley Unwin impressions. Then one evening, the lodger appeared in the Shuttlecock's kitchen, said he was hungry, and proceeded to cook up some onion rings, fried tomatoes, and a surloin steak.
"I thought nothing of it at the time," Shuttlecock admitted. "But with hindsight, I suppose I should have realised he was lonely up there in the loft. I mean, there's a limit as to how many times a man can pray for Moriarty's mortal soul whilst doing Stanley Unwin impressions."
In an unrelated incident, Shuttlecock explained that he was watching Downton Abbey one Sunday evening, when an advert came on the telly asking people to adopt a snow leopard.
"I thought they'd just send me a picture of one," Shuttlecock said. "But come Monday, the postman came knocking at the door, delivering a proper snow leopard. I'd no idea what to do with it, so I sent it up the loft. Arm and the big cat seemed to hit it off from day one. I could hear purring from the loft, and I could hear Arm trying to teach the snow leopard how to do Stanley Unwin, Harry Worth and Frank Spencer impressions. He actually had the snow leopard saying: 'Ooh! Betty! I think I've done a whoopsy in my beret!' - which was hilarious. If not a bit undignified for an endangered species to be doing."
A week later, the postman called again, this time delivering an unsolicited fruit bat colony.
"That threw me a bit," Shuttlecock admitted. "I always thought bats were little things, but these were like dogs wiv big leathery wings. I was going to send them back, but Arm said he'd look after them. And they've been up there ever since. Luckily, the fruit bats and the snow leopard get on quite well, and it gives Arm something to stroke and teach impressions to of a long winter's evening. So, all in all, everybody's happy."
Peering down from the trapdoor to the Shuttlecock's loft, Arm told reporters:
"I is happy as Larry Grayson here be lud. Wiv der leopard and der fruit bats. So bugger orf!"
Shuttlecock's long suffering wife, Anne shrugged with an air of resignation and stated:
"I used to only have one daft bastard. At this rate, I'll end up with a house full. They aren't so bad though. I just hope my Martin doesn't do something stupid like adopt a water buffalo or something. If he does, the bike will have to go. I'll flog it on eBay."
Curiouser and curiouser.
More as we get it.