Saturday, 11 February 2012

The night dad lost Hamish the hamster

Walk on the North Downs with Uly, brother-in-law Geoff and our neices
On Friday 5th of November 2010 I brought home a big black labrador called Uly and our houshold was never the same again.

It was on that fateful Guy Fawkes night (or at least the next morning) I discovered that one of the doors to my daughter's hamster cage didn't close properly. I mean, what a good dad I was, remembering to feed Georgina's hamster his special piece of tasty broccoli on the night she was having a sleepover and I was so busy with my new and very excited dog.

Not feeling so clever the next day when Georgina came back and found little Hamish the hamster had disappeared into thin air. Oh, we took the utility room apart, removed all the kickboards from the cupboards, pulled out the fridge, the washing machine, it's surprising what you find lurking in these places: old socks, carrots, mediaeval coinage, but no Hamish. We even set up bucket and broccoli traps outside in the garden in case he'd slipped outside.

Now I should say that having a new dog in the house did rather distract my daughter from the loss of her hamster. It shows just how quickly a young girl's pet allegiances can swap when the choice is between a tiny fluffy rodent that sleeps all the daylight hours and a big, demanding dog that likes being tickled.

The hamster didn't show up again, at least not in our home. The footnote to this tale is that some weeks later we discovered that our neighbours had evacuated their house because of rodent activity in their loft. They'd heard scampering about above their bedroom ceiling on anumber of nights but had never been able to track down the cause, so being petrified of rats and mice the wife had to decamp to her mother's house down the road. After a visit from the local pest control man, the noise eventually stopped but no body was ever found.

*If you lose your hamster put a piece of broccoli into a bucket set on the floor. Use a strip of wood to create a ramp from the floor to the edge of the bucket. In the morning, with luck, your hamster will be in the bottom of the bucket.

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