BACK to the rabbits...It was the week of the village fete. We go every year, but this time it was special. There were stalls, bouncy castles, miniature train rides and a line dancing display among the attractions.

But it was the pet competition which caught the eye when a leaflet about the fete arrived in our house - especially the category entitled "Cutest Rabbit In Show".

Jasmine and Aladdin had, as you know, become firmly established as part of the family, although the novelty had admittedly worn off somewhat.

In fact, we'd reached the point at which that familiar mum's grumble was to be heard regularly: "If it wasn't for me, those rabbits would starve. Not one of you pays them any attention. You just don't care."

This was, of course, directed not only at the four children but me as well.

She'd even issued an ultimatum: "If you don't start looking after them properly, they'll have to go."

She didn't mean it, of course. It's just what mums say. My mum used to say exactly the same thing about my rabbit when I was little but she never got rid of him.

Thankfully, the news of the "Cutest Rabbit In Show" competition breathed renewed interest in Jasmine and Aladdin.

On the morning of the fete, Hannah, aged eight, was up early to get them ready. Jasmine got stage fright, jumped free from her hutch and refused to be caught. She's a little madam but it was her loss.

Aladdin's cuter anyway. He's snowy white with ginger lop ears. Let's just say we were hopeful of victory.

He had his coat brushed lots of times and his tail was nicely fluffed up before he was placed carefully in a cardboard box for the short drive to the fete.

The tension mounted inside the show tent. Our heartbeats quickened as the stern-faced, white-coated judge walked towards us.

He picked up Aladdin and held him by the ears before unceremoniously turning him onto his back. Naturally, we felt obliged to tell him about the little operation he'd had to stop Jasmine getting pregnant, just in case it had a bearing on the result.

The judge remained silent. Curiously, he pulled Aladdin's top lip back to see his teeth and muttered something about crooked front teeth.

Our hearts sank. How important would crooked front teeth prove to be in a cute bunny contest? Was it our fault? Were our carrots too hard? Should we have made him wear a brace?

The judge put Aladdin back down, took a step back and assessed him again. Still not a murmur.

Finally, he broke his silence: "What do you feed him on?"

"Rabbit food," replied Hannah.

Stupid man. What did he think we fed him on - spaghetti bolognaise?

The judging seemed to take ages. The tension inside the tent became almost unbearable. Then the announcement came: "And the silver cup for the cutest rabbit in show goes to - ALADDIN."

Yes! He'd done it. Oh joy of joys. Hannah stepped forward proudly to accept the silver cup. It now has pride of place in her bedroom next to her Worker of the Week certificate.

The record books will show that Aladdin was the cutest bunny in show. The fact that he was the only rabbit entered matters not one jot.


Ronnie Angel, a bricklayer living in Norton, Stockton, was tired after a day at work a few years back.

His daughter Doreen loved nothing more than plaiting hair - whether it was her own or her dolls'.

Seeing her dad snoozing in the chair, she couldn't resist putting lots of bright red bows in his hair.

A little while later, there was a knock at the door and Ronnie woke with a start. He couldn't understand why he was getting such a strange look from the bloke on the doorstep.