Wednesday, 16 February 2011

The tale of the Guinea Pigs

We hadn't long moved to Somerset and didn't know many of our neighbours when the unsettling appearance of a dead Guinea Pig occurred on the drive. It seemed our tomcat had taken advantage of someone's pet. We were mortified - not the way to make an impression on your neighbours! Having no idea who had children who might own said Guinea Pig, we kept quiet.
We might have got away with it if Tigger hadn't turned up with another GP a few days later...then another a few days after that.
The taxi driver was bringing Oliver back from college. He parked over by the gate, and came to the door - most unusual. His expression was tragic as he aplogised to me and explained that he had just run over my Guinea Pig. I answered, 'Not another one!' which confused him somewhat. As I rolled my eyes I saw another by the grass, and another by the car. This situation was out of hand. So we embarked on some discreet enquiries and ascertained that the Pigs belonged to our neighbour across the road, the one with the Ferrari flag at the gate, and that as he was most fond of his animals it might be wise to say nothing.
Ok, then.
But the GP body count continued to rise, and when we invited all the neighbours for getting-to-know-you drinks, we were in a dilemma. Was it time to fess up? Cautioned once more about the gentleman's love of his animals we were silent.
Until Oliver came into the room. Now, Oli isn't great at remembering faces - an Asperger's aversion to looking at them doesn't help. So when he meets new people I try to give him a verbal hook. Oli is standing in the middle of the room and I am introducing J 'who owns the garage', and N 'Ferrari flag man'. "Oh, Guinea Pig man?" Oliver announces clearly over the top of my head. N looks up with interest.
Have you ever had one of those moments where you are deluded enough to think you can still rescue a situation? Hmm. I stood in front of my son (to block his view - why?) and said, "No, Ferrari flag man."
Oliver ennunciated loudly, "You mean Guinea Pig man."
"No. Ferrari flag." I was pleading.
He gave me that Aspie look of absolute certainty and said, "Well I think we owe him the truth, don't you?"
Because Aspies can't lie.
So their mothers aren't allowed to either.
And that's our real any wonder I write stories?


  1. Aw, Sinead. That made me smile. If only we all saw with such clarity sometimes, hey? I reminds my of my own sad childhood. My hamster crawled under the cupboard, through a hole in the skirting board…and next door’s cat swallowed it. Sniffle traumatised I was, for life!

  2. Fabulous! When I moved to the country, some time ago, I has horrified to find a dead robin in the garden, killed by our very own tabby. Although it was sad, I didn't worry about it too much, until my sweet neighbour mentioned that her lovely tame robin had disappeared and asked whether I had seen it in our garden. I am ashamed to say that I lied! Perhaps we should all be more like Oliver.

  3. Loved that memoir and message, Sinead. Good work Oli!

  4. Thanks, Sali and Leanne, indeed I do think we should all be more like Oliver - he constantly shows me how much of our so called 'social etiquette' is just 'lying'. I was dressed for a wedding once, sequins and a bit of lace etc. We lived on our own at the time so he was the only one I could ask, "How do I look." " A bit over the top," he said. I wonder what he thought of Sarah J Parker in Sex abd the City?!

  5. A so-called friend of mine flattened my sister's hamster. I didn't know anything about it until she found it under a brick. She never actually said but I always felt she that she blamed me. I tackled him by the way. He was bigger than me and I didn't come away unscathed. She never knew about that.

  6. She does now, Dave.

  7. When I was much younger, my hamster had a litter of babies. When we found them, she'd slept on top of one which was flat as a pancake! Luckily we kept her off the others and they all found good homes :)

  8. Oh, dear, what an awful lot of flat hamsters. Sniffle. :)


  10. My pig story....
    Coming from a family of animal lovers and growing up with them it seemed natural when I had my family I too would like my children to grow up with animals! We started with the rabbit then a guinea pig - then another 2 guinea pigs! A year on a cat 'Willow' was inherited. THEN I bought Jake (loopy black lab) for my husband’s birthday present!
    Well we now have 1 much protected rabbit! ;0( a cat that hides from the dog – and THE DOG!
    Jake takes to eating most things - especially guinea pigs!
    Silly Mum & Dad naturally went for a little burial for each one – with our three children quiet in prayer beside us. George, my eldest says – ‘it’s ok Mum, it’s only a natural instinct to Jake.” Bless him.
    Two days later Gareth came home from work. I say to him – ‘Love, I think there’s a dead rat on the lawn’ Gareth gets a shovel!
    Jake had dug up the guinea pigs! Natural instincts! SO uncivilised. X

  11. I bought my husband a packet of bird nuts as a Christmas gift once. Strange that it's me that's doing the tweeting:)

  12. Claire, love it...we put a big stone over the kitten we had to bury to avod the same thing.
    Eiry, tweet, tweet!

  13. I should have written 'twitting!' Very appropriate!

    One of our group, Spencer Ratcliff, based in Australia, is being featured on BBC Radio Essex currently - Ian Wyatt, on Saturday mornings. It links the area with his fantastic book, 'The Voices of Crabtree Lane'.
    Here's a link:
    Cogratulations, Spencer.

  14. Here’s a link to Spencer’s third interview:
    Encapsulates the book so well, Spencer.

  15. A 1:1 meeting tomorrow then, plus a cluster group meeting, Sinead. I guess you must be busy preparing files. I'm about to sort out mine. See you there x

  16. It's me again with a link to Spencer Ratcliff's fourth interview on Radio Essex: It’s 2:59 into the programme:

  17. ***Correction: Spencer airs 1:51 into the programme rather than 2:59. Happy listening!