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.


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.


Roscoe xxxxx

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.




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.


In which I interview myself

Way-aye, Roscoe here. It’s been a nice week, because we went out in the garden most days. And Mam seems happier about something, although we’re not getting Chas and Dave to live with us.

I’m not sure what happened, but I know at the start of the week Mam did a video of us and our houses and where we have cuddles and the outside run and everything. Then she tried to phone Auntie Anna on Friday but didn’t get through. And now she’s going to see Auntie Sophie this week to bring back some new piggies for our empty run. Hooray!

I thought I might interview Mam with your questions. I might do that later, but I’ll answer them myself today.

1 What do you like best for food?

I like grass, and the herby things Mam gives us, and carrots. But I really like the special biscuits Mam gives us in the early evening. They’re delicious and they make me feel great.

2 What do you like the least that your mum has to do to care for you?

Like everyone else, it’s nail trimming. It’s very scary.

3 When do you get excited and make loud noises?

I very rarely make loud noises. It’s not dignified. Even when she says ‘biscuit’, I just run to the side and look interested. Okay, I sometimes stand up on the bars to look extra interested..

4 Have you always been called Roscoe?

No, it was Auntie Layla than called me Roscoe, and I think it suits me. Mam says it reminds her of Emperor Roscoe who was a DJ on a pirate radio station. I thinks that’s why we’re more or less pirates in her books .

4a Do you know if Mam changes your names or leaves them as they are.

She told me yesterday that if she brings Peanut & Pistachio home, they’re having their names changed. But I think mostly she leaves us with the names we come with, unless she’s fostering like she did with the three littlies last year, who had codenames or temporary names till they found their home..

5 What’s your least favourite food, and is there a food she really wishes you’d eat that you dislike?

Mam gives us lots of strange things I’ve never had before. She’d like us to eat all of them. Beans and tomatoes, I don’t like them but Biggles and Bertie loved them, so I try them if she offers them, but… nah. Fruit. She tries us with this stuff called fruit. I don’t like it. I’m coming around to red pepper, though.

6 Have any of you ever had to share your homes with animals other than humans and other guinea pigs? How would you feel about it if Mam decided you should, and brought something else home rather than more guinea pigs?

I think there was a dog at the last place we lived. There are dogs next door that bark sometimes. I know Mollie (and Joshua) have dogs, but I wouldn’t like them I like it’s just guinea pigs and Mam.

So there we have it. I hope we have some new people to introduce next week. At last. It’s been very depressing having an empty cage next to us.

Mam says it’s the equinox in the next couple of days. We’ve been here with all the furniture for six months. I like it here, except for missing Bertie.

Bye for now

Roscoe xxx

Neville’s turn!

Way-aye, Roscoe here.

It’s been a nice weekend, although Mam says today will be hot. By the end of the week it’ll be cool again, and autumn will be here.

I don’t know how she knows. Maybe she asks someone.

I’ve been asking someone somethings today. I heard what Mam told Auntie Noelle about Biggles. Maybe I didn’t exactly ask him politely. Well, maybe. Anyhow, I’ve asked Neville politely. Even though I had to chase him around the run to get him to stop and answer me.

Hi Neville, welcome to the blog and please would you answer my questions. Well, they aren’t my questions, mostly. Our readers asked them, so please be nice.

Okay. Although I’m always nice with Aunties.

Of course you are.

1 What do you like best for food?

Mmm, food. Grass, carrots and cucumber. Hay. Basil. Fennel. Lots of things, really.

2 What do you like the least that your mum has to do to care for you?

I hate having my nails cut. I don’t mind having my hair cut, except when she has to do around my bottom, because I’m always a bit nervous the scissors might slip.

3 When do you get excited and make loud noises?

Mostly if I think you’re getting food and I’m not. Sometimes if everyone seems to have disappeared. I get excited when it’s biscuit time but there’s no need to make loud noises to get Mam’s attention. She’s very good at that.

4 Have you always been called Neville?

No, don’t you remember? We had different names before we got left behind and those people disappeared. I can’t remember what they were, though. I like the name Neville. I think it suits me.

4a Do you know if Mam changes our names or leaves them as they are.

She didn’t change our names from what Auntie Layla gave us. I don’t think she’s planning on changing the names of the boys she gets from Auntie Anna, either. If she gets Chas and Dave, anyway.

5 What’s your least favourite food, and is there a food she really wishes you’d eat that you dislike?

I’m not keen on beans. I know Biggles adores them, but, well, I’ve started to try them. Mam gave us all sorts of funny things when we first arrived. Do you remember? We only knew cauliflower and lettuce and carrots. Then we learnt about kale – that’s yummy – and spinach, and chard and herbs, and celeriac… it’s all yummy. Pepper – still not sure about that, but I quite like it now.

6 Have any of you ever had to share your homes with animals other than humans and other guinea pigs? How would you feel about it if Mam decided you should, and brought something else home rather than more guinea pigs?

Weren’t there some other animals at the old place? I can’t remember. They made funny noises, anyway. I don’t know if Mam would get anyone other than guinea pigs. She likes birds though. It would be okay, I expect.

Thank you Nev, that was grand. You can go back in your tunnel now.

I think Mam’s taken it away to wash it.

Yes, it’s drying in the sun outside. I reckon we’ll be going out soon, too. The grass is very good at the moment. Mam says to enjoy it while we can. So I will

See you next week, everyone.


Roscoe xxx

An Interview with Biggles

Way-aye, Roscoe here again.

We’re all very disappointed because Auntie Anna couldn’t come to see us last week as she was too busy. She won’t let Mam have new piggies till she’s been here. Mam’s very disappointed too.

So, thank you for all your questions. This is what happened when I put them to Biggles.

1 What do you like best for food?

I like carrots best. And cucumber best. And carrot tops. Mummy doesn’t give me carrots very much, though, because she says they make me too heavy.

2 What do you like the least that your mum has to do to care for you?

I hate having my nails cut. And I don’t like it when Mummy brushes my hair up the wrong way, or delves into it to find whether there’s some hay stuck in it. I don’t really like her touching my back half much at all, really.

3 When do you get excited and make loud noises?

I don’t much. Except if it looks like I’m not getting some food when you are. I make small noises and chat to Mummy when she cuddles me, though.

4 Have you always been called Biggles?


4a Do you know if Mam changes our names or leaves them as they are.

I don’t think she’s changed anyone’s name for ages. You’d have to ask her.

5 What’s your least favourite food, and is there a food she really wishes you’d eat that you dislike?

(long pause) Chinese leaf. I don’t like the thick stalks in it. We haven’t had it for ages, though. I think I should point out to your readers that Mummy’s main aim at present is to make me starve to death.

I don’t think that’s true. Mam told me you were very heavy, though. 1.725 kgs. That’s very heavy. I’m only 1.4 kgs, and so’s Neville.

Sniff. She’s not even giving me a proper bowl of pellets now.

I think I’ll ignore that. The next one is from Mollie, who’s a dog.

6 Have any of you ever had to share your homes with animals other than humans and other guinea pigs? How would you feel about it if your Mum decided you should, and brought something else home rather than more guinea pigs?

I don’t know. Dogs make loud noises, well, the ones next door sometimes do. Mummy chases the cats out of the garden, so I don’t think she’d have them. I don’t know. As long as I still got fed and cuddled it would be okay, I expect.

Well, thank you, Biggles, for that insight into your world. And it’s only next door to mine!

If nothing else happens this week, next week I’ll give you Neville’s replies. I might interview Mam, too.

Grass. I forgot to say my favourite food is grass.

(sigh) love

Roscoe xxx

N is for Neville – the interview!

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Hello, Bertie here.

I decided that N would be an interview with Neville.

Neville lives with Roscoe in the run next door to mine, so I could chat to him through the bars. Obviously it would be silly for Roscoe to interview him!

I’m going to ask him roughly the same questions I asked Joshua, although some answers are pretty obvious if you read our blog regularly.

Neville helps Bertie eat his cake


Neville’s interview

First of all, who are your companions and what are their favourite things?

My companion is Roscoe.  He’s a nice chap. We get on just fine mostly.  Some evenings he gets a bit bossy, but I tell him no. After a bit he gives up.

His favourite thing is grass, closely followed by pellets, and then cucumber – his or mine.  Mam caught him trying to steal mine the other evening, because I taking my time over it, enjoying it properly. He’d finished his already.

Roscoe loves bitey things, like the hay box, or the paper under the fleeces. 

roscoe neville

Why did Mummy decide to get you? 

I don’t know, but I’m right glad she did. Oh, yes – Roscoe’s just reminded me that I look a lot like Dylan from the front, and Dougall from everywhere else. So Mam couldn’t resist me. (sounds of Roscoe muttering in the background)

Where were you before you came here?

Up north in a place near Newcastle. We were there for about three or four months after the family who had us before disappeared. I don’t know why they disappeared.  I liked them most of the time. Sometimes they left us in the cage without much attention for a couple of days, but the half-size humans were sweet, most of the time. We stayed at a couple of different places after that, but the people were very nice and very attentive.  They brushed my hair and cleaned my bottom (which can get a bit mucky with the long hair). I was very comfortable with them.

There were two very nice half-size humans there, too. They played with me and gave me treats. They had nice careful hands.

Neville and Roscoe settle in

I vaguely remember half-size humans too. What’s your favourite thing Mummy does?

I love when she gives me nice nibbles, especially cucumber and special hay. I like when she puts us out on the grass too. I enjoy being sat on her lap in the morning and eating cucumber.  It’s nice to have some time with her to myself.

Neville with his back to the camera

What are your favourite memories of your companions 

Well, Roscoe’s been my only companion full-time. He’s often off getting into mischief, but that’s just him rather than a favourite memory. I think he’s a very good companion (if bossy at times).

When we travelled here on the train, we didn’t know what was going on, and I was a bit scared.  Roscoe told me stories to keep my mind off the things that happened in the past. He made up this adventure where we went somewhere entirely new and lived in a palace with lots of servants and lovely food every day.

Most of that came true. We met Percy, and then you, and Biggles, and Midge, and there was another guy here then, Oscar, I think he was called. I don’t think anyone was a servant, but we had lots of new friends. And we went out in the garden together and chatted through the railings.

And we do have lovely food every day!

Oscar meets Roscoe

Tell us a secret that we promise not share with anyone except readers of the blog

Mam has put me in the last Princelings book. I’m a bit like a pirate, but I also get mistook for Dylan.  Or is it Dougall? I don’t know. Maybe both.

Thank you very much for that, Nev. It was great!

And I hope you all enjoyed it too. Till next time

Bertie xxx