I was well and truly pranked this April Fools’ Day, and by a completely unexpected source. The monthly Parish News magazine that gets delivered through my letterbox. Now this little village newsletter has such a kind and friendly tone that you would never in a million years expect it to try and trick you – one whole page of it, just as an example, is written by a dog called Kass. It talks about Church meetings and asks who might want to help keep the hedgerows tidy around the village green. (I’m by no means belittling this Parish News, by the way; I am being absolutely serious when I say that it is my favourite read of the month. It appeals to my nosy side, because it has listings of planning applications and refusals, and it makes me feel connected to the outside world with its details of clubs and events and local markets.)
So it was with total and utter conviction that I sat at my neighbours’ dinner table and said
“What about these American alligator eggs they’re bringing over to hatch at East End Farm, then?”
Blank looks all round. My husband, who is quite literally the most cynical man I have ever met in my life, instantly smelt a rat.
“Alligator eggs? Where did you read that?” he said.
“In the Parish News,” I said. “They’re hoping that once the baby alligators hatch out, they can establish a small population of them because the climate is nice for them here. Also, they will help to control the wild mink because they are getting out of control.”
(Wait for the good bit. Never has a person been so fully taken in by a parish newsletter joke.)
“The thing is,” I continued, blindly, “I’m not too sure I want alligators right where we walk the dog. And it says that they bellow in the evenings to attract a mate!”
Oh, how they all laughed when it was pointed out (by Mr AMR, with unnecessarily great mirth) that it was an April Fools’ trick. Thank God I hadn’t “contacted the editorial team” to be one of the volunteers to “look after eggs and transport the hatchlings”. The shame, the shame.
My only saving grace was that my neighbour from the other side came in and Mr AMR said
“Have you heard about the alligators?”
and she said
“Yeah, they’re going to be making alligator handbags and selling them at the Saturday market!”
So I’m not the only gullible one. I’d love to know if anyone volunteered for alligator-egg-care duty and whether the team kept the joke going.
Please provide your own stout gloves and ensure you are vaccinated against tetanus.
Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.