WHAT YOU'LL FIND ON THIS BLOG

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Reasons not to leave Daddies at home with small rodents nearing the end of their lives

I stepped out of the house yesterday morning and, towards me, padded a neighbour's cat.  I beckoned to it and said, 'Come here, Puss, and have a stroke.'

The cat eyed me suspiciously as if thinking, 'Does she like me, or does she want me to have a blood clot that paralyses one side of my body?'

Hm, thought Ginger.  Is she thinking 'massage' or 'massacre'?


This episode amused me.  (It doesn't take much.)  I walked on to work grinning like an eejit, with the people driving past thinking, a) She's just stroked a cat and it's cheered her up or b) She's just watched a cat get paralysed and gets her kicks in a very odd way.

Then I remembered a gerbil we used to have when our kids were little.  Poor old Blackie.  It's bad enough being born a gerbil, to be honest, without suffering the indignities he did....

We had two gerbils, Brownie and Blackie.  I know these sound unoriginal names, but the people we inherited them from had called them Brahms and Liszt which is rhyming slang for 'pissed'.  We wanted safer names in case the kids wrote about them in their primary school diaries and, after we'd rejected Colin and Sharon, we went for Brownie and Blackie.

One afternoon, our 5 year old son had a friend round.  They always disputed, afterwards, whose idea it had been to get Blackie out of his cage and swing him round by his tail like Fred Estaire did with a walking cane, but Blackie was never the same, surprise, surprise, and a little while after this, he had a stroke.

The stroke did something to one side of his body, so he could only walk round the cage in one direction, as though one side of him was extremely heavy.  It certainly confused Brownie, who couldn't work out why Blackie was acting like a raving drunk when he was actually meant to be a gerbil and nothing more complicated.

'Look straight ahead at the camera, idiot!' said Brownie.  But, alas, for Blackie, the days
of looking straight ahead at anything were gone.


Well, one week, I took the kids to their grandparents and we stayed a few days, leaving Daddy behind.  While we were there, he rang me.

Here is Scene 1 of a short play entitled, 'News About a Dead Gerbil You Don't Want to Hear'.

Husband: I've got some news about Blackie.  He's dead.
Wife: Oh no!  How will I tell the kids?
Husband:  Say, 'Blackie's dead?'  How else?
Wife: Do you have any compassion?  Anyway, what have you done with him?
Husband: What do you mean, what have I done with him?
Wife: Put him in a shoebox or something?  The kids will want to bury him in the garden and have a proper funeral when we get back.
Husband:  Ah.  There could be a complication.
Wife:  Which is?
Husband: *Awkward silence*
Wife: Which is?
Husband: *Longer awkward silence*
Wife: Where is he?
Husband:  I ... er ... I wrapped him in kitchen foil and put him in the bin.  They collected the rubbish this morning.

Here, we will stop the play and I will just let you imagine Scene 2.  Let me just say that we had some very, very awkward questions to answer about what Daddy had done with Blackie and why there was no funeral.  People suggested all sorts ('surely a sausage roll is the same size ... just wrap it in a blanket and say it was Blackie in the box') but in the end, we went for honesty, said Daddy had already disposed of him, and tried to leave it at that.

Tips for cooks #1
Not every foil parcel sitting on the kitchen surface is necessarily the salmon you prepared earlier


Suffice it to say, when Brownie died, I think he got a better burial than the Queen Mother.  Lining the shoebox with ermine and giving him a golden pillow probably was pushing the limits, but Daddy had a Lot of Making Up to do.








34 comments:

  1. Daddies simply don't know how to handle certain situations the way that mommies do. We are the delicate, sensitive sex, bringing calm everywhere we go, except when we're hysterical because a bug is in the house.

    Love,
    Janie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm really getting the feeling it's a man thing, judging by the comments.

      Delete
  2. We men just aren't that sensitive, unfortunately.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ... very unfortunately for all treasured pets ... and their sobbing child owners ...

      Delete
  3. Reading this came as a relief . I was wondering whose death you were about to tell us of .

    I once looked after my neighbour's elderly cat while owner ( cat's , not mine ) was away for a month .The inevitable happened ... and , no , you can't preserve an overweight tom cat for long in an Andalucian summer . But I didn't put him in the bin .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did you think the title suggested the Daddy got eaten by the small rodents? I hadn't thought of that! I LOVE your line 'you can't preserve an overweight cat for long in an Andalucian summer'. That is classic. And very funny.

      Delete
  4. At least Blackie was wrapped in tin foil. I used kitchen tissue as a shroud for our budgie. He also went the way of the bin. Must be a man thing.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hehehe! BTW, that was a manic cat you photographed there... Do you think his picture could be used as rodent deterrent if it was pasted outside of mouseholes?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess if the picture was pasted OVER the entrances to the mouseholes, that would sort the problem anyway.

      Delete
  6. Ginger is right to give you that She Is Up To No Good look. Ginger has heard via the neighbourhood grapvine about poor Blackie's fate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah. Hadn't thought of that. Cats are such GOSSIPS!

      Delete
  7. He might have flushed him down the loo !

    Dads have little understanding of these things but surely their own mummies staged elabourate funerals for their pets ?

    Joe once took a little friend to see his hamsters... a little row of graves !

    My mum once put the last of our three cats from childhood ( the grand daughter of the first ) in a buscuit tin.... mum wanted to bury her at the place they were moving to. We - all in our twenties by then thought mum ( who wasn't really a cat person ) had gone quite mad !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My aunt has just posted on my facebook page that my uncle put what he thought was a dead hamster in a bag ready to dispose of it, but it later crawled out again. I love that story!

      Delete
  8. Hilarious! Brilliant post

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Frances. It's certainly raised some interesting gender-divide issues!

      Delete
  9. And I got stick for flushing a dead goldfish down the loo! My most difficult experience was trying to bury a dead cat, after rigor mortis had set in, in rock hard ground in winter. Which ever way round I put her, there seemed to be a leg/arm/tail sticking out. The skills involved in grave digging are much underrated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This made me laugh, just picturing it. Funny.

      Delete
  10. At what point does an animal deserve a burial, not a chuck in the bin? I often find dead possums, birds and bluetongue lizards in the backyard - and they go to the bin - but one of our chickens was beheaded by a fox - bin or bury?

    And I have to be careful where I choose to plant new trees in the backyard to avoid digging up remains....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think if I found a dead possum or bluetongue lizard in my back yard I'd have the neighbours round for a party before the funeral, but then, this is England.

      Delete
  11. DID YOU HAVE TO PUT ME THROUGH THAT PAIN AGAIN?????!!!!!

    Thanks Mum.

    Love, your distraught 29-year-old daughter, who happened to be 7 at the time.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I wish I'd thought of doing that. Our garden has more animal remains than the Elephants' Graveyard...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bet you have to be careful gardening, then. Nothing puts one off one's weeding more than an unexpected corpse.

      Delete
  13. Foil?

    Foil?!

    So. Not even an eco-friendly brown paper bag funeral then?

    ReplyDelete
  14. That was absolutely well funny! One of your best I think Fran. It had me laughing as soon as Blackie started wondering in one direction around the cage ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Steve - I don't think we knew the word eco- back then.

    Annie - thanks! Glad you enjoyed mocking small animals with me.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Fancy - we once had three gerbils called Blackie, Brownie and (in a feat of originality surpassing even your family's) Whitie.

    We also had a free-range mouse the other day, in the kitchen. We assume that one of the cats brought it in and it scarpered behind the washing machine (the mouse, not the cat). So we put down a humane mouse trap because we don't like harming furry creatures. Unfortunately, the cats spend the night in the kitchen and by the morning ... well, let's say that the trap was empty but we don't seem to have a mouse any more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I believe cats don't have quite the same scruples about 'harming furry creatures'. I wonder how many Blackies, Brownies and Whities there are among the gerbil population...

      Delete
  17. Very nice, thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hahaha! A sausage roll with a tail? What would Mary Berry say?
    Anna May x
    ps: I'd like to be preserved in alcohol so I can enjoy the afterlife

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can you imagine? 'What have you made for Pastry Week?' 'Er ... well .....'

      Delete
  19. Poor Blackie!!

    I was very original when it came to naming hamsters.
    Honey
    Honey 2
    Honey 3
    Honey 4
    and
    Fudge

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's hilarious, Lucy. I guess after number 4 you thought it time for a change. And you were right! I'm SLIGHTLY worried by the number of hamsters you have got through ...

      Delete