Why a guinea pig makes a great sidekick!

guinea pig in car driving

When I started writing my Mr Bob Murder Mystery books, my mum called them ‘my kids books’. Yesterday, over a year on during a phone conversation, she did the same to me again. I was telling her about the plot of book two and how excited I was.

‘Mum,’ I said, (cue withering stare and grating of teeth), ‘these are not kids’ books, they are adult cozy crime investigations.’

‘But, you have a guinea pig to help your main character investigate,’ she replied.

‘Yes, I do. That’s because I love guinea pigs and because they’re very intelligent, emotionally sensitive and have better hearing and smelling than humans.’

‘Is that right?’

‘Did you know…?’ I said, all puffed up with pride. ‘There are more bones in a guinea pig than a human body.’

‘What?’ she said. I’d got her attention now and I could feel her face melting at such a fact. ‘That can’t be true!’

‘It is’, I said, a smug sense of satisfaction glowing and growing all over me like fungi. ‘Humans have just 206 bones in their body, whereas guinea pigs have 258.’

‘Really, are you sure? Where do they have all those bones?’ she asked.

‘Well,’ I said, pausing and relishing my role as an expert. ‘They have 34 in the spinal cord, 43 in each front leg and 36 in each back leg. The rest of the bones are in the skull, ribs and breastbone.’

She went silent on the other end. ‘Well, that’s remarkable, I never knew that.’

‘There are a lot of things you don’t know about guinea pigs mum, and that’s why Mr Bob, who is a guinea pig, makes a perfect sidekick for investigating murders – he’s downright clever and perceptive.’

‘More bones in their body than me, I can’t get over that, they’re so tiny,’ she sighed.

I smiled and waited while she sucked in this new information, gleeful I’d impressed her with something she didn’t know (despite her being a piggie owner back in the day).

‘You know,’ she said, ‘come to think of it, I’m currently reading a book where the lady has a Chihuahua to help her solve the murders. They’re not that much bigger than guinea pigs are they?’

Size wasn’t really the point, but I took it as a small win: My mum’s started to accept that a guinea pig could be a useful – and welcome – sidekick.

Mr Bob is a cute, cuddly companion for Tarah and he’s certainly the cleverest of the duo. He may not have the Dr. Watson-esque stature of Sherlock Holmes’ legendary sidekick, but he does make Tarah a better amateur sleuth, and pushes her to interrogate things she wouldn’t ordinarily think of.

And that’s the thing about sidekicks. People often think of the sidekick as somehow inferior, but most of the time, it’s the dynamics between the duo which make the sidekick an integral part of the main character’s being – and hence the entire story. Where would the feckless Wallace be without his dependable Gromit to save the day? Where would Charlie Brown be without Snoopy? Pooh without Piglet?

A hero is nothing without their sidekick; they are the support to assist the main characters to do what they have to do.

And that’s why I love Mr Bob, he’s a guinea pig and so very, very clever!

Wizz Air Has a New Route to Fuerteventura!

Yippee! We love it when new airlines come and bring us to the sunny, blissful shores of Fuerteventura and Wizz Air have announced from this summer they’ll be flying from London!

Of course, we still have all the travel restrictions to contend with, but the news is still positive – more flight routes means more competition which means more choice for customers! Ryanair and easyJet have had it easy for far too long, being the main carriers for passengers wanting to fly to Fuerteventura, (unless you’re taking a package tour) so Wizz Air’s new travel plans are great news for all of us!

Flights start from 3 July and will fly on Mondays and Fridays from London Luton to Fuerteventura. They’ve also started additional routes to other Canary Island including Gran Canaria and Lanzarote. Check out Wizz Air for more details.

Does This Guinea Pig Really Think It’s a Dog??

I love a nice news story – especially when it involves guinea pigs! Who doesn’t need more guinea pigs in their life?!

So today’s offering is about Margo the guinea pig who thinks she’s a dog. Well, I’m not sure that’s factually correct as how would they know ! Anyways, it’s cute because Margo looks like the two border collies she lives with in Somerset.

Here’s some pics of them all together!

If you want to read the whole story it’s here

7 Cool Facts Most People Don’t Know About Fuerteventura

1.There is a magic mountain

Tindaya Mountain

Tindaya Mountain (Montana Tindaya) is situated in the north-east of the island close to La Oliva. The 400-metre-high mountain is the earliest formation of Fuerteventura from the first volcanic eruption, 20 million years ago. The early inhabitants believed Tindaya was sacred and had magical properties. There are a variety of tombs and religious symbols in the centre of the mountain which are believed to have been left by the majoreros. The most curious of the hieroglyphics is what has been called ‘podomorphs’. In essence, feet like! There are over 300 of these engravings on the mountain.   

‘Podomorphs’

To this day, the area is bathed with a special aura and the landscape is said to be impregnated with a sense of peace and mystery. Local legends still believe witches are in conversation with the mountain. This writer doesn’t know if that’s true, but she very much hopes it is!

2. Miguel de Unamuno was banished to Fuerteventura

Miguel de Unamuno

The isolated location of Fuerteventura means it’s a great place to escape…but was also used to exile dissenters. In 1924, when Miguel de Unamuno a prominent Spanish essayist, novelist, poet, playwright, philosopher, professor of Greek and Classics and late rector at the University of Salamanca, disagreed with the dictator Miguel Primo de Rivera, he was banished to Fuerteventura.

Miguel de Unamuno said of his time on the island, ‘For me Fuerteventura was an oasis where my spirit drank reviving waters and from where I left refreshed and fortified to continue my journey across the deserted civilisation.’

The house in Puerto del Rosario where Miguel de Unamuno lived during exile is now a museum.

3. Caleta de Fuste is named after a rotting boat!

Caleta de Fuste beach

Caleta de Fuste, a popular resort located close to the airport, was built to cater for the huge demand of tourists who started coming to Fuerteventura. The area is well known for it’s white sandy crescent shaped beach, world class golf resorts and top hotels. For many years a shipwreck of an old Arab-style cargo boat lay in the bay. The name Caleta de Fuste means ‘bay of the fishing boat’.

4. There’s a secret Nazi base

Villa Winter

*Conspiracy theory alert*

Over the years there has been much controversy surrounding ‘Villa Winter’, a grandiose turreted house, allegedly built in 1937 by Gustav Winter, a prominent German engineer – who if stories are to be believed – was wanted for questioning by the Allies as a suspected Nazi, and who was never handed over by the Spanish authorities.

Villa Winter sits in a remote location at the end of a very long, very dusty track where there is nothing but mountains, sea and sand. Idyllic, you may think. Sinister, is the claim.

Separating fact from fiction is tricky. Apparently, in 1939 Franco and Hitler agreed to turn Jandia Peninsular into a military zone, Winter was the man employed to do the job. The land around Cofete was given to Winter, where he built the habour at Morro Jable, a church, a school and started the main road, and built Villa Winter, locals say in 1937, documents say in 1946.

Why? has always been the question.

And this is where the fun starts (again!), because Gustav’s life, like the house he left behind (and never lived in), is shrouded in mystery. People claim Winter raised the money from Hermann Göring, one of the most powerful figures in the Nazi Party. The tower turret is alleged to have had an an electric lantern, similar to a lighthouse, so they could signal German U-boats and the villa was actually a secret submarine base. It’s also claimed underneath the house is a fissure in the rocks leading to a subterranean tunnel to the sea. And more recently, allegations have arose purporting the tunnels and rooms under the house were used as cells and gas chambers.

5. The Capital was renamed without the consent of the locals

Nuestra Senora del Rosario

In the 1800s the main port of Fuerteventura was called locally ‘Puerto Del Cabras’. This literally means: ‘The Port of Goats’, which makes sense given they were one of the main exports. In 1834, the port town took over from La Oliva to become the capital and in 1956 the name was changed – without the consent of the locals – to the more tourist friendly, and attractive ‘Puerto del Rosario’ which means ‘rosary port’. The church in the centre of town is dedicated to it’s patron saint, Nuestra Senora del Rosario: Our Lady of the Rosary.

6. Nelson lost the Battle for Fuerteventura

In 1595, Sir Walter Raleigh launched assaults on Tenerife and Fuerteventura, both met with little success. The English, however, wanted to add the Canary Islands to their list of colonial acquisitions – and so over the next couple of centuries tried again and again.

Enter Horatio Nelson, one of the legendary figures of British naval history. His aim was to occupy all of the islands and make them British territory, the archipelago’s strategic location made it an ideal platform in the Atlantic for basing and refueling His Majesty’s fleet

Given the underwhelming resources of Santa Cruz, Tenerife – The Canarians had less than half as many military personnel as the English admiral – Nelson was confident. However, he didn’t anticipate ‘El Tigre’ a mammoth gun forged in Seville. Many British sailors perished under the cannon fire (and a shot from ‘El Tigre’ removed one of Nelson’s arms), but after fierce hand-to-hand fighting by those few English who managed to enter the city, the English survivors later surrendered.

Gutierrez and Samuel Hood, a leading officer of Nelson’s fleet, agreed the surrender. One of the stipulations being: the British Navy would never again attack the islands.

7. The island looks like a sperm whale

Ok, so maybe at a push…but still, I bet you remember the shape of the island tomorrow!