Goosey has interrupted me noisily here and pointed out that he is a bird. I`ve calmed him down with a Lemon Sherbert (his favourite treat) and at least it stops him chipping in for a bit.
Where was I? Yes animals … they have always played an important place in my life. As a small child I can remember walking along the street with my mother and stopping to pet every dog that we saw. Mother trying to drag me away in case it carried rabies. We had our own dogs – Rex the spaniel I can just remember. Dan the Irish Wolfhound who scared the living daylights out of most boyfriends I brought home. He used to travel with me on the bus when I was a girl, but refused to go upstairs so the conductor would let him ride in the luggage compartment under the stairs and let me stand on the platform beside him. My own dog Bruce – a black and white collie. He was always waiting for me at the bus stop when I came home from school and would walk me back home.
My father was working away from home and came back one weekend with a brown cardboard box – a present. My brother and I opened it eagerly and out ran a bantam hen! The hen, glad to be free, ran down the middle of the main road, dodging traffic with the family in hot pursuit. We caught her. I`ve no idea what happened to her but, knowing my mother, I suspect she ended up in the pot!
The same fate befell our pet rabbit. I went down the garden one day (I was a teenager by then) and saw the hutch empty. I ran back to mother and asked what had happened to him. `You ate him a while ago` mother replied. `What? Ate our pet rabbit?` Shock! Horror! Mother replied that my brother and I hadn`t bothered to look at him for ages and she got fed up with caring for him. She then added tartly that she told us he was chicken and we had asked for second helpings!
We had a tortoise who committed suicide … yes I mean it. He was put in the greenhouse in a box to hibernate. I went in the greenhouse in the early spring to find poor tortoise hanging from his scrawny neck entangled in some bean netting that had been put on the top of his box. A warm day must hae woken him early and he`d tried to get out of his box.
Ah – and my goldfish. He lived in a bowl on the sideboard in the dining room (we didn`t know in those days that bowls were not the ideal environment for goldfish). I came in there one morning to find him floating in the bowl of stewed prunes that mother had served for dinner the night before and left on the sideboard. Not a pretty sight and I`ve not touched stewed prunes since!
When I was first married my husband disturbed a hedgehog nest in the garden. Mother didn`t return to them so I ended up taking them in a basket on the bus to work with me so I could feed them. One by one they died but I did my best …
I had a cat called Benito who wouujld retrieve small fircones. He came as one of a pair of kittens but, sadly his sister (called somewhat unfortunately Jabberwok) was run over. I`ve never had two kittens together before – they are four times as much fun as one kitten. What good games we played. Ben would come in the bathroom in the morning and jump on the edge of the bath (he never fell in). He also used to enjoy chasing bubbles down the bath panel and was so surprised when they burst.
I`ve already written about my wonderful Jamie dog whose picture is always beside my bed. He`s been dead for many years now but his memory is always with me.