What is cheese, anyway?

Way-aye, Roscoe here.

I’ve had a busy week, as usual, and Mam’s been busy either going out for walks, or on the computer (and talking to people, or them talking to her), or in the garden. And some of the things she’s been doing on her computer have been looking at vegetable seeds, and garden runs for us, and looking at cottages in a place called the Peak District. She’s bought some fennel, cucumber and green manure seeds, and something to help the grass grow. And cottages aren’t until October, apparently.

I was getting my hopes up when I saw her going outside with just a sweater over her indoors clothes. It was a lovely sunny day, so I thought it might be grass time. She saw my look, and said no, it’s much too cold, and the ground is very wet. But she brought us in a few leaves, celeriac leaves and kale and chervil from the veggie patch, and some dandelion and groundsel from the front. She says there’s hardly any dandelion around. It seems to be hiding.

And as I couldn’t think of anything else to talk about this week, I thought I’d ask her the same questions you wanted me to ask us last autumn. So this is what she said.

1 What do you like best for food?

I like cheese most, it’s my very favourite food. You wouldn’t like it though, Roscoe, it’s made from cow’s milk. Or sheep’s milk, or goat’s. It’s why I put on weight: I eat too much of it. I also like salad, so I’m with you there, and several other veggies that you don’t like, some because they are not good for you. I don’t know why you don’t like the others, but we all have our preferences.

Like what, I asked

Well, tomatoes, for a start.

Yuk

2 What do you like the least that your mum has to do to care for you? I suppose that you do to care for yourself.

Hmm, well I suppose it’s nail trimming for me, too. For me it’s just hard to do, especially my feet, because they are a long way away and my arms aren’t long enough to reach easily.

3 When do you get excited and make loud noises?

Mainly when one of the racehorses I like is running, and has a chance of winning. Some of the other loud noises I make are called ‘singing’, but I don’t get excited with that.

4 Have you always been called Mam?

No, you were the first to call me ‘Mam’. Most of the boys call me Mummy if they call me anything. And most people call me by my first name.

4a So have you changed your name or left it as it is.

When I started writing, I was told that if you googled your name and it brought up things you wouldn’t want your readers to see, then take a pen name. So I have at least three names I answer to.

5 What’s your least favourite food, and is there a food you really ought to eat that you dislike?

I like nearly every vegetable, although I don’t like swede (which is a type of beet, I think Auntie Noelle knows it as rutabaga). I was very noble and tried it on some of the other piggies, and they didn’t like it either, so I don’t have to buy it. Or turnips. And aubergine doesn’t like me much, it can upset my tummy. I think it’s to do with the way it’s cooked. I don’t eat meat or fish, but cheese stops me going vegan. And I like most fruits, but don’t eat as much as I should, because I prefer chocolate, which is poisonous to you.

6 Have any of you ever had to share your homes with animals other than humans and guinea pigs? Have you ever thought of bringing something else home rather than more guinea pigs?

Ah, clever question. When I was little we had a cat, budgies, chickens, a white rat, and we looked after a rabbit when my cousins went abroad. Now this is strange, because my cousin swears she had a guinea pig called Fudge, but we definitely looked after a rabbit called Fudge. I have always wanted to have a sulphur-crested cockatoo, which is a sort of parrot, but I think Auntie Dawn would say NOOOO, don’t get a parrot–and she’d be right. And I often think I’d like a dog, but really, I’d rather have guinea pigs, and I don’t think dogs and guinea pigs are a good mix. So I think you’re safe as you are, Roscoe. Unless I get a bearded dragon… or a chameleon… but they need special habitats, and I don’t think we’ve got room.

Gosh, thanks, Mam. That’s really interesting!

And then Mam told me about a funny thing in a book she’s reading this week, where some people on a planet far away are all different species of space travellers, and they are discussing the disgusting thing that humans make with milk–and not even their own milk … cheese!

I think those people are probably right. Cheese sounds and smells very suspicious to me. See you next time.

Love

Roscoe xxxxx

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A new box of hay

Hello, Biggles, here.

It’s been a restful sort of week. Last week I had a bath, as Roscoe told you. It hasn’t quite stopped my skin itching, but it’s a lot better. Mummy said she’d give me another this weekend, but she didn’t.

What she did instead was to check when our next hay delivery was due. “Two weeks, boys.” she said. I reckon we can start the new box and see if it’s any better.”

Well, I don’t think any of us had actually complained about this hay. It was sort of not bad, but not very nice. It had a lot of leaves and hard bits and stuck together bits. We weren’t eating as much of it as usual. And that’s why I lost weight the week before last. I made a better job of it this week. Mummy’s happy with my weight again.

Mummy filled the hay bag with hay from the new box. She gave us all huge handfuls of it when she’d taken out the other stuff. This morning she’d filled up the hayboxes we use for playtime. I had to explore it, but at first I couldn’t get in! There was so much hay, and I needed to jump, but whenever I jumped, it slid away on the floor. Mummy moved it to a different position for me and I got in the next time. It was really deep and luxurious. So deep I decided to have a nap. I only woke up when Mummy started taking photos.

So I think we’re happy with this hay. I don’t know what Mummy’s going to do with the other. Maybe we’re going to have some of each for a while, till they are both used up. Or maybe she’ll use it on the garden plants to keep them warm. Good luck to them, but I suppose they don’t mind the odd leaf or ten.

Mummy’s been busy at her screen all week. And she’s been talking to people on it all over the weekend. It’s very funny when she does that, like she’s talking to the wall and the wall’s talking back. But we know it’s really other people.

I hope you have a good week.

Love

Biggles.

Noisy week!

Way-aye, Roscoe here again.

Was it noisy where you are? It was noisy here. Fireworks at night, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. No idea why. Mam was watching the guys sliding down hills all day, every day (well, mostly). The man telling us who was who and how far they’d gone.

It was all a bit too noisy for me. I ended up curling up on the hay and sleeping through it.

I don’t know what Biggles did to deserve it, but he got a bath. Nobody else did, although Mam says I need my grease gland doing. Sigh. Biggles didn’t seem very happy in the bath – we heard him from here! Buthe seems very happy now. I’ll let him explain about it next week. There must be an explanation. Mam wouldn’t up and bath just one of us for no reason.

You can see we’re in January now. All the Christmas decorations have come down. Save for the Christmas tree. Mam says she’ll take that down tomorrow, in time for Twelfth Night, or whatever you want to call it. She had to go to the doctor again today, and she wasn’t sure whether she’d have to look after her eye for a few days, so she got the tinsel and things like that down early. She warned us last night that she might not have time to cuddle us properly today, but she’ll give us breakfast before she leaves. Which is a few minutes after I post this. So she hasn’t cuddled us, but we’re getting breakfast. Good priorities, Mam.

I hope you had a happy new year celebration, and made lots of resolutions that you’ve already broken. We had a nice time with Mam, until the fireworks started. Well, they started about six, and went on till well after midnight. Then Mam went to bed and another lot started. But we’re all used to them now. They aren’t as loud as the hairdryer Mam used on Biggles!

That’s it for now, see you next time.

Love

Roscoe xxxxx

Well, that’s over

Hi, Biggles here. That’s Christmas over, then.

We had a nice time, lots of food. For Christmas Day we had carrots – funny yellow ones but they tasted good. We also had kale and chard from the garden, salad from the fridge thing, celery, and herbs – sage and rosemary I think they’re called. And in the afternoon we had Christmas cake. It’s like birthday cake, but we just got a portion each in our bowls.

Uncle James didn’t come, so our hay stayed in the spare room. The new box came on Tuesday, and we started it straight away. It’s not as nice as usual. The hay’s okay but not as nice as usual. It has lots of leaves in it, but nothing poisonous. Mummy’s a bit disappointed. She gave us some of our home-grown hay with it last night. It was yummy. We also got a funny green stick with nobbles on it. The nobbles tasted like cabbage, and the stick tasted like broccoli stalk a bit. I quite liked it, but it was better when Mummy cut it in half down the middle. We could eat the softer inside bit then.

Oh, Christmas presents! I got a nice new big snugglesac. You can see a picture of me with it. I sat in it Christmas night and it was lovely. Yesterday Mummy took it away and washed it. It smells better now. Ludo and Locksley got a nice grey snugglesac, with white stars on it. I think it’ll be the perfect camouflage sac for Locksley. They are very suspicious of it. They are suspicious of everything, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.

Roscoe and Neville got new tents for the summer. I think they were a little disappointed they didn’t get something new for their run. Roscoe admitted he didn’t want Mummy to take any of their things away, so maybe it was all right.

And we all got some chew sticks from the nice lady next door, Auntie Linda. It was very kind of her to think of us, and we’re very grateful.

Apparently Ludo wasn’t very well during his cuddle time yesterday. Mummy stayed home to keep an eye on him. She was going for a walk at the same place as her other brother, but didn’t. Ludo was a bit funny getting back into his cage afterwards. He sort of fell out of the tent instead of stepping out. Mummy picked him up again and took him off for a check-up. That’s when she decided to stay home and keep an eye on him. But she went out to get us some cucumber later. I haven’t seen anything wrong with Ludo. I’ve been keeping an eye on him too. Maybe it was Just One Of Those Things.

That’s it for now. I’m going away, and I won’t be back till next year! Have a nice week.

Love

Biggles xx

Hampshire 5 at Christmas

What are you doing for Christmas?

Way-aye, Roscoe here. It was good to have a week off last week, and I reckon Biggles did a great job, don’t you?

I’ve been busy turning up at other people’s Christmas parties. There’s this one with Auntie Sally, and this one with Auntie Sue (who we’re busy Thinking To, as well as to Auntie Mary), and her dog Ani. And Mollie’s friend Lilie was with Ani too.

We were all set for a happy Christmas, with Uncle James coming to stay, and us finding room for the extra hay boxes that are staying in his room to come into ours. Then somebody that keeps changing his mind decided we couldn’t have him to stay because he’s in a different area from us.

Mam’s a little down in the dumps, but she was very good yesterday. She told me she didn’t want to do anything, but she ought to go out for her in-the-woods competition. It’s got a proper name but I forget it. Anyway, it was a sunny day, so she went. She told me she was glad she had and she really enjoyed it. And her friend Mary couldn’t get any parsnips, and we’ve got plenty, so Mary is getting some of our parsnips. Mam likes them, but we don’t.

Mam spent most of the weekend watching her moving pictures that talk to her, some with horses, some with snow and ice, and some with dancing. The dancing was exceptionally brilliant, and she said the two best dances she’s ever seen on it were done on Saturday. So she’s keeping herself busy, and reorganising all her food schedules, now she’s going to be here with us, and nobody else.

Our food has been a little sparse the last couple of days. Short of green leaves, that is. We’ve had more carrot to make up for it, because Mam’s usually very stingy with our carrot portions. She says it makes us put on weight. I think she’s got lots of carrots, and lots of other veg we don’t eat, so she’s working out how to keep us in lettuce and cucumber over the next week. But in the new year she says we may well have to go without bought lettuce on several days. She’s saving our veggie patch veggies for then.

our veggie patch in summer
Our veggie patch in summer

I asked if it was the avirus that was killing the lettuces, and she says no, that’s just killing Christmas get-togethers. It’s the Exit that’s killing the lettuces. She’s been planning for the Exit, but she can’t store fresh lettuces for weeks for us. And one of her pots of lettuces she was trying to grow over winter died last night. There are others that are growing, though. We might get a leaf every now and then. But we’ve got plenty of hay, pellets and readigrass, so we won’t starve.

And we may still have our Christmas party, if Mam can remember what she did with our Christmas pudding.

It’s behind you, Mam!

(That’s from a pantomime, which is a traditional Christmas play).

Anyhow, that’s what we’re doing at Christmas. Well, what we’re not doing. Everything else will happen unintentionally. It’s called Improvisation, and we’ll enjoy it.

I hope you have a good Christmas.

love

Roscoe

xxxxx

PS Mollie, thanks for taking the trouble to comment on last week’s post, I reckon that means your Mam’s move has gone okay.

Roscoe

It’s been so noisy!

Hello, Biggles here. It’s my turn to blog today. I hope you enjoyed the last one.

This week has been so noisy!

It started okay. Then Mummy told us the doors were going to be replaced. There would be lots of noise. But if it got too bad, she would put us in our boxes in the quietest place.

Well, that sounded fine to me. But she didn’t. Put us in our boxes, that is.

To be fair, it wasn’t too bad most of the time. Just when they did our door, and maybe Mummy’s next to it. But Mummy was working on the computer and ignoring it, so we ignored it too. I was in my tunnel, which muffled the noise a bit. Ludo and Locksley were in their tunnels, although Ludo had his face out, watching Mummy. But Roscoe didn’t seem to mind it one bit! He was lying out on his hay, sleeping, while the men made horrible squealing noises with the machine on the door.

Mummy did check on us. I saw her look at us several times,. She was trying to work out whether we were scared. We weren’t scared, because Mummy didn’t seem worried. Well, maybe Ludo was a bit scared.

Our door is the one at the end. This was before they put the handle on – that was the very noisy bit

Anyway that was all done and cleared away, and Mummy’s very happy with her new doors. Ours is very nice. It’s got glass all the way down to about guinea pig height. If she closes it, she can see us if we’re on the floor. It’s much nicer having a see-through door when it’s pointing into the room, too.

Saturday was blissfully quiet. Yesterday it got really noisy again. I don’t know why Ludo and Locksley were making so much noise. I went over and chatted to them at one stage. That only seemed to make them worse. They were bickering, and complaining. Locksley carried on with his baby noises for hours on end. I’m sure there was nothing wrong.

Look how big he is now – nearly 800 gms, Mummy says

I think Ludo got upset that Locksley had been talking to me. He’s a bit jealous if anyone talks to Locksley except Mummy. Mummy sat and looked at them, and talked to them severely. She said they had to learn to make friends with us or they wouldnt have nearly as nice a run when it got to grass time in the spring. I think they’ll have to have the tall panels anyway. We know Ludo can jump the small ones if he really wants to.

Anyway, that was our week. Mummy says she might have to make it smell funny this coming week. She has to wipe special oil all over the doors. I don’t want to be rude, but Mummy often makes funny smells in the kitchen, so it won’t really be anything new.

And we have a Christmas tree, Roscoe showed you that last week. Now there are some Christmas decorations around the house. None in our room, though. Not that we usually have them. I just thought you’d like to know.

Roscoe will be here next week. I’ll see you next time – when it will be After Christmas!

love

Biggles