Tag Archives: pets

Shoot Me

Well, they’re here. Our Christmas kittens.

I had been strenuously avoiding getting a cat or dog. Too much pet for me. All that caring, and feeding, and walking, and just worrying about.

As a writer I am always yearning for space and solitude and no responsibilities so that I can get something, anything down on paper.

So we’ve worked our way through a range of noncommittal pets: gold fish, hamsters, robot dogs, budgies in cages. Pets that are contained and do not require too much of my wildly divided attention.

But nothing satisfied our daughter.

She needed something to cuddle.

And she’s about to turn 11. Her childhood is passing before our very eyes.

Oh, the guilt!

So I finally broke down.

But I said to my husband, this is your thing. I’m already taking care of the damn budgies. This is your enchilada.

And so he made the calls and arranged everything.

This past weekend we didn’t tell the children where we were going. We told them they were being dragged to yet another art gallery by their mother. They were just thrilled.

Oh, the fabulous look on their faces when we walked into Cat Protection, the cat adoption place in Archway.

Naturally, we had just missed a huge selection and all that were left was a very noisy Siamese and a pair of young tabbies which couldn’t be separated.

Ah, well, I thought, relieved. Too bad. We’ll come back later (maybe in a couple of decades…) when the stock has been refilled.

Um, yes, we now have two tabbies.

Darwin and Snowflake.

They came home yesterday to stay. Got named. Nosed around the kitchen. Chased each other’s tails. Plunked themselves in our laps.

And I must say, for a flea-ridden set of more responsibility, they’re awfully cute…

photo by Merlijn Hoek (flickr)


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budgie-sittingIt’s Monday and time is running out for me to deal with budgie care while we’re away. This is why I don’t like to get pets. Because I am the one stuck with the job of calling in all my favors to take care of these poop-tossing, feather-plucking bird-brains.

At this point, I am seriously considering wringing a couple of necks and then getting two new ones when we get back. The kids won’t know. If they’re not the right color, I’ll dye them.

And just think dinner would be taken care of: Two luscious mouthfuls.

So I’ve been perusing the internet for some possible recipes. And this looks like a winner:

Budgie with Cherries

2 budgies with attitude
1 ox bacon fat
2 sliced spring onions
1 oz flour
1 bouquet garni
½ pound stoned red cherries
½ oz butter
1 ½ pint stock

Brown the budgies in the dripping in the casserole. Lift them out and in the same fat, brown the spring onions. While the onions are browning split the budgies in half and trim the backbone with the scissors. Sprinkle the flour in the pan and brown lightly. Add the stock, bring to the boil and add the budgies with the bouguet garni…

And if you’ve read this far me thinks you’re seriously deranged….

photo by steepways (flickr)


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Ant World

antsWe have new pets. Ants. My daughter got an ant home for her birthday and the ants we sent away for have arrived.

Can you imagine? Sending away for ants. Silly, isn’t it? And could you throw in a couple of cockroaches and some maggots too?

It’s amazing what they sell for toys these days. You can get an Ant Circus: “See them perform unbelievable feats through the maze, cross the high wire and dig through soil strata. This kit provides hours of fun and is a ‘must have product’ for the young naturalist. Just add ants and dirt and watch the Ant Circus come to life!”

An Ant Jungle: “In the real jungle and in the nest, see them wrestle food through a maze or across dizzying heights. See them dig tunnels or rush to the surface if the colony is in danger!”

An Ant Nudist Camp.


We have Ant World: “Ant World allows a fascinating insight into the world of ants. Watch your ants build tunnels, keep their home tidy and feed each other. Ideal entertainment for the young naturalist, Ant World provides hours of fun as well as being educational.”

My children were mesmerized, watching the ants make their way from the box to the long flat holder along the clear plastic tube.

For about ten minutes.

It’s soon, I fear, going to turn into Ant Cemetery: “See them die by the hundreds in a cruel dehydrated demise. See them gasp their last breath and turn back into the dust from which they first came! Provides hours of horror as well as being educational. ”

photo by kasia/flickr

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R.I.P. Hamlet

rip-hamlet1I feel awful. Hamlet died yesterday. He had Wet Tail. We didn’t notice the gooey tail until the night before. I told Lara I would call the vet first thing in the morning. But in the morning we found him curled up, dead.

We missed all the signs; the excessive pooping, the hunching, though at one point Lara said she heard him groan. Otherwise he seemed fine. He was quite perky. He let Lara hold him for which I’m immensely grateful.

Wet Tail is the result of stress. From leaving mother, living in pet shop, coming home to new owner, being handled…a lot. We loved Hamlet to death. I feel just horrible. I should have protected him.

At least I didn’t have to discuss the bottom line with my children, i.e. the cost analysis of going to a vet and paying £100 to fix a £10 hamster. The thing is, I would have probably done it.

I miss the little guy. I miss stroking his little paws. There is something comforting about a house full of pets. At bedtime I go around the house, tucking sleeping kids back under their covers, filling budgie water bottles, making sure Testtube alien lights are glowing red and until last night, saying good night to Hamlet as he nibbled on his honey/egg treat.

So good bye, Hamlet. I am so sorry. May you rest in peace now.

The budgies on the other hand live on and on and on…

Photo by Special (flickr)

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Hamlet the Hamster

Hamlet the hamster arrived home today. He is the birthday present for my daughter. She has been relentless in its pursuit.

Personally I’m not into rodents behind bars but we can’t have a dog because we travel too much. We tried fish and they died. We have budgies (don’t like birds behind bars either but at some point you figure it’s them or your peace of mind and you go for your mind). The budgies will have nothing to do with us. They sit and chirp and make a racket and a huge mess. I swear they pluck each other and toss the feathers out of the cage when I’m not looking just to make me pick up after them. And they shit everywhere. When I pointed out to my daughter that we already have pets big tears welled in her eyes. ‘But they don’t let me hold them, they ignore me.’ Which is true. It’s like having two love sick teenagers who slobber all over each other but can’t be bothered to even grunt in your direction. So I have relented and Hamlet is now installed.

Let’s hope it ends better than our last hamster, Marmite, who fell from the top stair in the middle of the night. I found him the next morning. Won’t go into details because my kids might read this and they were given a different version of events. Suffice to say the real story involved two frantic parents, a pot full of water and a blow dryer. There will be a scene in my next book about it.


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