My latest short story, The Rat Catcher, received a commended award by the judge in the 2021 Out of the Asylum Spilt Ink writing competition.

The story is set in Otley, Yorkshire in late Victorian times, when a rat catcher was a well known and lucrative profession. Bill Scaife, the Rat Catcher in my story, is fictitious, but the setting and the other principal character are authentic. Annie was my grandmother, who worked as a barmaid in the Black Horse Inn in Otley. The pub is still there.

The print mill does sit beside the weir of the River Wharfe and upstream is Tittybottle Park where the mothers used to nurse their babies. 

Annie told my mother a story about the day the print mill caught fire. Brightly coloured rats were seen escaping from the burning mill after they had fallen into vats of ink.

You can read the story here.


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