This morning I came up with the idea I’d love to write a guinea pig themed Christmas blog post. I didn’t know what to write, but I felt inspired to put a call out on social media to see if anybody had any festive piggie pics they’d like to share.
I was not disappointed.
The piggie love was overwhelming, so thank you to everybody who took part.
Here we have the Hottest Invite of the Year:
#Piggie2020 aka The Guinea Pig Christmas Party!!
‘I’m going to wear my hat,’ said Cinnamon.
Jasper laughed. ‘That’s not a hat, that’s the promotional lid off a bottle. Your hoom’s winding you up!’
Shimmer and Shine giggled.
‘Hmph, don’t you go laughing at me when somebody’s eaten too many carrots to fit into the sleigh,’ grumbled Cinnamon.
‘We’re not laughing,’ chorused Tilly and Fred from underneath their giant Santa hat.
The other piggies looked around.
‘When is this nativity going to get started?’ asked Misty.
‘My hoom has just started to build it…we’ve got a stable and a sleigh to start us off’
‘I’m all ready for my starring role in the guinativity!’ said Honey, standing proudly.
She cast her eyes at the others squashed together. ‘Just because you’ve got cozy new beds in front of the Christmas tree, don’t you go thinking you don’t have to do any work!’
Mo kept his head down, he’d found a tasty treat in front of the tree.
Distracted by the tasty treats, he didn’t see Tiny sneak in for a nibble.
Before Scot decided he also wanted in on the action.
‘That’s not very spirited, not very Christmas!’ came a disapproving voice.
‘Is anybody still playing hide and seek?’ called Honey, wondering if she’d disguised herself too well.
Tigger and Eeyore kept very quiet, they were still playing…
‘Just keep still, they won’t know which are the piggies and which are the puppets.’
Angel glanced about: Who was meant to be hiding and who was meant to be finding?
‘I’m starting to feel a little sleepy.’
‘You can’t sleep yet! We haven’t done our hat shot!’
‘I don’t know if I feel like having my photo taken today…’
‘Don’t be shy, it’s fun! Look at this lovely poinsettia, it matches my hat and the floor…I think it must be tasty!’
‘Tasty? You can say that again!’ laughed Jasper. ‘My hoom gave me a pumpkin the size of a house!’
‘Pumpkins? I didn’t get the memo about any pumpkins?’
‘Then that means you didn’t get the note about our Christmas Card Selfie! Say Hay, Hay, Hay!! Merry Christmas everyone!!’
Thank you so much to everybody for sharing your piggie pictures with me. It was an absolute joy to write about your pets, I hope you enjoyed their story too.
‘I was quite sure I’d left your box of hay here.’ Tarah looked thoughtfully at the place where she usually kept Mr Bob’s stash. Her head was a little fuzzy this morning, but she was strict about things being in their right place. Living in a small studio in Fuerteventura meant she had to be organised so as not to have everything all on top of her.
Hay hoarding was a not a look she fancied, plus she was quite sure she was allergic to the stuff.
‘Aichoo!’ that was Tarah’s reaction every time she opened the box of hay. Mr Bob would roll his ruby eyes at her in dismay at her human frailties. He’d then wait patiently while she dillied and dallied and took far too long (he felt) while she got herself together and finally got him his hay.
Mr Bob wasn’t ungrateful though, he knew Tarah went to great effort to get his favourite Small Pet Select Timothy Hay delivered especially for him to their Canary Island home in the sun. So he always rewarded her with a juicy lick on her finger. He knew she liked it – she always giggled and smiled at him and gave him some extra fussing.
‘I’m at a loss where it could be,’ Tarah said, turning to her furry friend. ‘Have you any ideas?’
Mr Bob sniffed the air. He was always on high alert to the scent of hay and knew the steps Tarah took from the hay pile to his food bowl. He twisted his fluffy muzzle to where the treasure usually lay. He stared at the empty space.
Tarah turned to Mr Bob. ‘It’s OK, don’t worry, I’ll sort it,’ she said soothingly.
Tarah picked up some clothes and various bits of paper to see if the hay had got hidden under some things. She looked under the bed, opened several drawers (none of which had any room for hiding any hay) and shoved her head in every spot where a box of hay could be.
The hay was gone and Tarah didn’t know what to do.
She sat on the chair and looked from Mr Bob’s pining face to the dishevelled contents now upended in her little flat. Where on earth could this hay be?
And then it struck her: yesterday she’d finished the box of hay and was due to open another one, she’d ordered it a couple of days ago and delivery was…?
Tarah pulled out her mobile phone and checked her Amazon account. The hay should’ve been delivered yesterday. Yesterday. She sat and thought about what she’d done the day before. It had been a Sunday, so she’d had the day off work.
Mentally she retraced her steps of the day. Where had she been? What had she done? Who had she seen? She moved to the bed and thought back from the start. She’d got up quite early yesterday, it must’ve been 7ish. The sun was glorious and had been streaming in through the cracks in her curtains. She’d made a tea, had a Magdalena cake and then decided to have a second – it was her day off after all.
Tarah and Mr Bob had sat on her little balcony and enjoyed their side view of the sea. They’d watched together as sun-seeking tourists had laid their towels on sun loungers in preparation for their day of roasting. She’d played a little guessing game, pinpointing those who would tan nicely like a sausage and those who would burn red raw like lumps of undercooked roast beef.
Had she fed Mr Bob hay for breakfast yesterday? She felt hazy as she cast her mind back to their breakfast on the balcony. No, yesterday, she’d fed him a carrot as his Sunday treat.
What did we do then?
Mr Bob ruffled his fur and wagged his bum. He was tiring of Tarah’s recollections. He wanted his hay.
‘OK, I know, I know.’ Tarah smoothed his hair, her hands stroking down a slice of ginger fur sticking up at an awkward angle. ‘OK, I think we need to treat this like a mystery, you up for helping me?’
Mr Bob threw his head back like a lion showing off his mane. He didn’t need asking twice.
Tarah looked at her watch. Luckily she still had an hour before she started work, so she had time to track down the missing hay before the next guests at Jorge’s Place were due.
Pulling on her flip flops, Tarah did one last check about the studio apartment, flinging bags and clothes into the air in a last ditch attempt to find the missing hay. She folded her arms. It’s definitely not here, she said to herself and picked up Mr Bob in his carrier.
Walking down the whitewashed stairs and across the cobbled yard, Tarah’s thoughts flicked over all the food stuffs she could feed Mr Bob until a new batch of hay arrived. She did a shopping list of things she could entice him with: romaine lettuce, carrots, bell peppers, spinach, peas. She knew it was no substitute for hay, but the local supermarket sold that, so at least he wouldn’t go hungry.
‘Buenos Dias!’ Jorge called from across the courtyard.
Tarah waved at her boss. ‘Good morning, Jorge! Have you seen a package that was delivered for me yesterday? I seem to be missing Mr Bob’s hay and I’m trying to track it down.’
Jorge furrowed his bushy eyebrows. ‘Ah, I saw the man, he came maybe some time in the morning.’
‘Do you know where he left the package?’
‘Sorry, no, I was going in the car and so I didn’t stop to see him. I thought maybe you saw him and got the parcel?’
Tarah shook her head. ‘No, I must’ve been out, but usually the driver hides the packages behind the bougainvillea pot so I’ll try there!’
Tarah looked over at the flowing blossoms of the bright pink laden vines, the turquoise pot she’d recently painted looked stunning in the early morning sun. It made a perfect contrast, even if she did say so herself. Twisting behind the floral twines, Tarah was disappointed to see there was no package hidden behind the flower pot. She scanned the courtyard – where else would a delivery driver leave a parcel?
She opened the office door, hopeful some helpful person had already left it inside for her. Nothing. She lifted and moved every plant pot. Nothing. She opened the rubbish bins. Nothing. She moved the stacked parasols. Nothing. She shifted the sun loungers. Nothing.
Who on earth would want a box of hay? She muttered.
And then she went quiet as the realisation dawned on her. Nobody would know it was a box of hay. All they would see is an interesting shaped package from Amazon. It could be anything.
Anybody could think it could be anything!
‘I’m sorry Mr Bob,’ she said, turning to stroke his face through the carrier. ‘I think somebody must’ve pinched your hay thinking it was something interesting.’
‘I know it’s interesting to you, but I don’t know where else to look,’ she said, her hands resting on her hips.
Mr Bob shook his head. His ruby eyes staring at her.
‘Don’t worry, I’ll pop to the supermarket now, then I’ll get another order from Amazon and it’ll only be a day or two…Maybe I could even call Pablo the vet and see if they’ve any hay in stock for you? I know it’s not your favourite brand, but just for now, you could do that for me, couldn’t you?’
Mr Bob let out a high-pitched squeal and flicked up shreds of hay.
Tarah bit her lip. Her cherished pet could be such a diva sometimes.
Opening the gate to the complex, Tarah exited onto the beach side. The golden glow of the sand never failed to make her smile and she stood for a moment watching as the deep blues of the sea and white fluffs of the waves buffeted and banged. The sun, even though early in the morning, was hot and blanketed her skin with its rays. It’ll be a scorcher again today, she smiled.
A gaggle of newly arrived tourists, five adults and three children, juggled with their overly-stuffed bags and caused way more noise than was necessary or desirable for this hour of the morning. Tarah could feel her smile disappearing into a frown and decided to look the other way. She hadn’t seen them smile and wave and bid her good morning.
Tourists will be tourists, she tutted, and reminded herself not to be too judgemental. Not before 9am, anyway.
She started to head towards the supermarket when she saw the gaggle of tourists were now dancing in the sand. They were playing music from a little portable speaker wedged amongst their colourful bags. A memory flittered into her head.
Tarah had been out walking yesterday. Had stopped by the supermarket and got some bits and then had gone to the beach to read her new book. Well, that had been her intention, but then she’d bumped into Kris ‘Karaoke’ King and he’d convinced her to have a drink at The Ship and try a new cocktail recipe he’d put together.
It had been strong. Way too strong than Tarah had ever drank before, and she’d felt rather woozy for a Sunday lunchtime. But she hadn’t wanted to stop drinking the cocktail. It was a delicious sweet concoction of strawberries and cherry liqueur and some special secret ingredient that Kris wasn’t going to share (although she was quite sure it was his triple strength vodka) and it made her feel warm and fuzzy inside.
He got me drunk!
An overwhelming plunge of panic soared through Tarah’s brain and a cold trickle of sweat pricked at her forehead. That’s why her head felt fuzzy this morning and her memory of yesterday was hazy.
What had she done?
Tarah swallowed and realised her throat was a little sore.
Kris had convinced her to sing karaoke – the one thing she swore she’d never do. She had a terrible voice, you couldn’t even call it a voice, it was more like a whine, or a whinny or a wheel coming off a car at high speed.
‘You’ll be great,’ she could remember him saying as he led her to the stage. And she’d tried to say no, but the crowd were going wild. They were clapping and fist-pumping and Tarah felt like she was some sort of rock star. And she’d drank another drink for courage and she could remember bending down and talking to a guest from the complex. She tried to recall his name: was it Geoff or Gary or Gordon? He was a small man with a pinched face and a large belly. He was wearing a short-sleeved shirt that looked a size too small with the top collar buttons done up so tightly, that it looked like his head was being squeezed through a sausage maker. And Geoff, Gary, Gordon – or whatever his name, had passed her a parcel.
And despite every fibre of Tarah’s being shouting at her to get off the stage and not sing, she’d gone along with the buzz of the crowd and she’d got up, caught up in the moment, the energy and the vibe. She’d chosen a song to sing, a nice crowd pleasing, easy singalong: Dolly Parton‘9 to 5’.
But then the computer had got stuck. Her selection hadn’t come up and the out-of-date karaoke gear had jammed on the Billy Idol song ‘White Wedding’.
‘I can’t sing that!’ Tarah had said and put the microphone down.
But the crowd had shouted at her to stay and sing. And she’d wanted to get off the stage. But then Kris had said he’d duet with her and once the music started, and after a few faltering lines and twisted tongues, she’d got into her stride.
Tarah was a rocking God.
Or that’s how she felt. She’d imagined herself with spiky, peroxide white hair and a punk attitude. She’d stomped and she’d sang at the top of her voice and she’d flung her hands into the air with a wild abandon only reserved for five-year-olds. At one point, mid headbang, she’d even considered crowd-surfing into the arms of her braying fans.
And it was maybe at this moment, when she was at the peak of her performance and she wanted to give more, go further, and really kick some beats, when she reached for the parcel she’d been given by the guest. With a lashing energy, she’d ripped open the box and the contents were just like confetti.
And it was likely at this point in the song, Tarah was sure she’d been shouting rather than singing, that the final ‘It’s a nice day for a white wedding’ seemed the appropriate time to launch the contents of her parcel into the crowd, showering the karaoke pub-goers with bits of the finest Small Pet Select Timothy Hay.
So you know how things are, you’ve got stuff to do and you don’t feel like doing them. You procrastinate a bit, make a tea, pretend you’re going to focus and before you know it your fingers are flying and you’ve opened up a whole internet storm of stuff.
So, today I found myself perusing Amazon to find a guinea pig toy. I don’t have a garden and only a small flat in a city so I can’t have a guinea pig at home. However, despite the numerous guinea pig themed paraphernalia I have about the place, I realised today I was missing an actual guinea pig toy.
What did you say?
No guinea pig toy?
I know, it’s bad and sad, so I decided to rectify it sharpish by tootling my fingers along the keyboard and selecting a soon-to-be lifelike toy.
Now the key thing about choosing a piggy companion is that I wantedlife-like. I know full well he is going to be a toy and is not real, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want him to look real (in case you’re wondering why I keep referring to him, it’s because I want him to be a boy like Mr Bob).
So size is important.
You want a cuddly piggie which is the actual size of a guinea pig. And that may sound like the easiest thing a manufacturer of toy guinea pigs could do – but you’d be surprised.
One toy I was considering, until I read a review, informed me the product was on the small size and more like a ‘Syrian hamster’ than a guinea pig. For what it’s worth, a Syrian hamster is about 13-18 cm in length, versus 20-25cm for a guinea pig, so there’s considerable differences at stake here. Another reviewer said the product reminded her of a two-month old guinea pig, and while pups are cute I was looking for a fully-grown specimen.
Size being an important aspect, I was therefore delighted to discover a toy that was 24 cm in length and quickly scrolled through the reviews. I was delighted to read about somebody who bought it for their grandson, who’s in a similar situation to me living in a flat with no garden, and apparently he loves his new friend and it goes everywhere with him. so I’m excited by this.
I’m about to hit the *buy* button.
But then Amazon does that thing – they display other items that ‘may’ be of interest. And you know, you can’t help yourself but to take a little peek.
So I open up the recommendation and I’m a bit surprised, because this piggie, in my mind, doesn’t look as much like a guinea pig as the others, and it’s also only 18 cm – which is more like a Syrian hamster.
Still, I’m intrigued and start to read the reviews. I read how people are buying them as companions for their piggies – and I start to think to myself – hold on, this must be super realistic then, maybe I’m being too human about this?
Until then I read the following review from Stephanie which says:
“I bought two of these for my own live guinea pigs after one of them in particular had become somewhat ‘amorous’ with this bedding. Being the wonderful owner that I am I thought he would prefer a little guinea teddy to spend his nights with and so bought these. Although upon reflection; looking around at these other reviews I feel slightly bad for turning an innocent child’s toy into well, essentially, a sex doll.”
Stephanie was kind enough to even include a picture of her two boys with the toys, fortunately, not an action shot.
She goes onto say the toys are pretty realistic although a little smaller than the description “but hey, who hasn’t got into bed with something only to find it a little smaller than expected” but that “The teddies are machine washed regularly with no issues.”
And I’m sure Stephanie was jesting (kinda), but as we all know: Many a truth is said in jest.
And somehow, when I flicked back to the cute face of the cuddly companion I was about to buy, the same glee of innocence was no longer there.
I never needed my guinea pig toy to be machine washable. I needed him to be cute and adorable and make me squee with joy, now when I looked at him I thought of Stephanie’s boys…and you don’t want me to write the rest!
So internet wormholes being what they are, I found myself on a journey. You know it’s one of those journeys where you forget what you set out to discover and instead spin your eyeballs with the amount of tabs you have open.
And then your computer wheezes because it cannot believe how many different sites you’re trying to access all at once.
Because, of course, you’ve forgotten what you set out to do in the first place.
Anyways, I think I might have been looking for a shoe rack. This was prompted by the fact my hallway is akin to a jumble-sale and I am sick to death of tripping over the myriad of footwear littering my floor.
And it’s a small floor, so every centimetre counts.
This little idea set me off on a task which then necessitated finding the measuring tape (where on earth did I put it, I was quite sure I’d put it back in that safe place where the measuring tape always lives) but where-oh-where is it now?
The fabled safe place, had indeed, become a fable.
Thus I had to then hunt down the paper one I remember stashing when I went to IKEA a gazillion years ago. This, I was quite sure, lived in the drawer along with other stationery items. It was not there – of course – because when can you ever find something when you need it?
Deciding the tape measure was off having an affair with the stapler (that seems to have gone walkies as well, thus my theory they have eloped), I tried to measure out the space with a sheet of A4 having found the measurements online (opening yet another tab – A4 measures 29.7cm length-ways in case you were wondering).
Tackling the height of the proposed said shoe rack with a wafting sheet of A4 was trickier, and it was at this moment I swallowed my pride and did the thing nobody really wants to do: I knocked on my neighbours’ door and asked to borrow a tape measure.
Amazingly, their tape measure had not gone on holiday/eloped/disappeared and they were able to locate it in a matter of seconds.
Armed with the tools of the trade I then set to work. I noted down the measurements and then all I had to do was click the order button.
Of course, if you’ve opened a dizzying array of tabs, it’s pretty tricky trying to find your way back.
It was then that I came across a random site I had been meaning to look at and distracted by I don’t know what, I carried on clicking.
Click-happy is not the phase you should be in when you’re trying to buy a shoe rack.
But of course, I digress yet again, because the purpose of this post was to share with you how today I have learned music for guinea pigs is a thing (maybe?) On YouTube I have found a variety of tunes for piggies to dance and strut to and I thought I would share them.
Well, that and the story of my shoe rack, which if you’re interested, I still haven’t bought!
So last month I featured an article where a guinea pig thought he was a dog. Fast forward a couple of weeks and we now have a guinea pig who thinks he’s a cat!
Seriously, these piggies are going to be having the ‘piggest’ existential crises! (yep, pun fully intended!)
Anyway, what I really love about this story is how alike Luis, the bald guinea pig, looks to his adopted family of Sphynx cats. He may be a rodent to their feline line, but they all make for an adorable brood.
Luis is just six months’ old and was adopted by his current owner, Oksana Baltakiene, in Spain because she thought he would ‘perfectly fit’ into her Sphynx family – not something many new guinea pig owners would likely consider, but it seems Luis has bonded with his fellow baldies and treat him as a brother.
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!
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.