Meanwhile, every commercial enterprise which can squeeze in some connection, however tenuous, is making use of World Cup fever to bring in the punters. Thus Hatton Country World decided this week to anticipate England's first fixture with a match between two opposing teams of guinea pigs.
The idea, apparently, was to predict the result using animals; this is always a crowd-pleaser during the football tournament and guaranteed to draw the visitors. The ancient Romans, of course, had much the same idea, only with more entrails.
Twenty-two of the little animals were selected for the England-Italy match, dressed in tiny team strip and given a ball full of grass to play with. (The final score, for anyone who may unaccountably be interested, was England 0 - Italy 1.)
However, much as often happens in the human game, events on the pitch have been overshadowed by the headline-grabbing priapic antics of one of the squad.
To the surprise of staff, some of their carefully-segregated females were recently discovered to be pregnant. Further research revealed that a lone male had somehow found his way into their pen, where he clearly made the most of the opportunities on offer:
"We don’t know how long Randy was in the female enclosure but it could have been several weeks which would have given him time to go round the entire female population."The park, according to reports, is currently home to around 300 guinea pigs housed in an assortment of anthropomorphic settings to entertain youngsters, though one might have thought that, after the first hundred or so, guinea pig fatigue must surely set in for even the most obsessive child.
Now, thanks to Randy's contribution of up to 100 potential pregnancies (outstripping - one hopes - even Tyneside bus-stop Lothario Keith MacDonald), the population looks set to double over the next few months.
Staff are now looking to build an extension to the guinea pig farm to accommodate Randy’s huge brood.Hence all the media publicity, presumably; it will surely take a fair few entrance fees to house and feed them all.
Unless, of course, the management have other plans. From Wikipedia:
Guinea pig meat is high in protein and low in fat and cholesterol, and is described as being similar to rabbit and the dark meat of chicken.