Coco Chanel

018All that is left of the House of Norman are two little squeaks. Norman’s granddaughters have inherited the great family hutch and are all who remain as everyone else has moved out, embarking on new adventures of their own. Jewel, Patch and Bumblebee each found a home where they’re what they’ve always wanted to be- the centre of attention. Smeagol has himself a mansion of a hutch to live in and is currently being fed strawberries and bananas. And as for the boys- Frodo and Sam- they decided it would be cool to bring Dad along to their new place of residence. I suppose one would be mad to leave a father called Sir Percy Pig behind.

So, that leaves the two sisters, Coco and Chanel. They’re not sure when they’re going to fly the coop but for now are more than happy with the extra space in Norman’s hutch. Coco, with her chocolate paw and striking dark eyes, IMG_4387likes to think herself ‘the beauty’ whereas Chanel couldn’t care less about her own tufty appearance; her one true love being food.

Norman would be proud.

And I’ve never met a guinea pig that loves being held upside down…

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The Meaning of Easter

It’s donkey paradise at Rizo Karpasos on the panhandle of Cyprus. Protected by the reservation, they roam the streets, stopping cars in the search of a carrot or sugar cube from fascinated tourists. Snapshot 1 (19-04-2014 14-12)Their tactic is simple: stand in the middle of the road, flick up the big ears, look as cute as possible, and wait for a car. When the car slows down to a stop, like a pro, the donkey ambles over, nudges at the passenger window, then sticks his giant muzzle though at his adoring fans.

Of course, when he doesn’t get what he wants the stubborn streak emerges, ears flatten and you’d best prepare for a nasty nip!

Animals associated with Easter tend to be cute fluffy bunnies and fuzzy little chicks, but if you’re looking for the real animal behind the Easter Story, it’s the donkey. And not a cute fluffy donkey baby with big adorable ears, but a wild, unbroken colt which nobody dared to ride.

Nobody except its Creator.

Days before His crucifixion, Jesus chose a wild donkey colt for His Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. When the owners asked His disciples why they were taking it, they said, ‘because the Lord hath need of him.’ (Luke 19:34)055

And just as Jesus needed that wild, stubborn colt to carry out His will, he needs each and every one of us. No matter what we’ve done, we can turn to Him to free us, like he did that donkey.

The Lord hath need of you.

Home Schooling

You know spring has officially arrived when you catch a huge ant wandering about in your room, weary of living in his own hot dirt mound. And with the warm weather and sunny blue skies, there soon comes that baby bird eager to fly. Last year I had the pleasure of watching one such flight training session. It all started with a “helpless” baby swift sitting rather wobbly on our gravel path and screeching at the top of his lungs.

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I picked him up and placed him on a high vine branch, hoping the parents would spot him and claim their delightful little child. I waited and waited and waited. The parents swooped down now and then and chirped at their offspring, but the bird would do nothing but screech till I felt like grabbing it from the branch and feeding it to Sergeant the owl.

Suddenly, when my legs had nearly lost all hope of ever moving again in my painfully still position in the shadows, the little thing discovered it had wings and flew in one smooth swoop to the banking opposite… and then everything happened all over again. The parents flew down, singing tunes of encouragement. Shrill shrieks reverberated through the air from that little outstretched beak. And after another moment of hesitation, the fledgling mustered up a sluice of courage and fluttered to a new spot on the banking.

I couldn’t believe I was witnessing a bird find its wings, the same way a human toddler finds their legs! It was new and exciting. It was the first taste of Spring.

Meet the Hobbits

There are new squeaks at the House of Norman. On the 1st of March, Norman’s grandchildren entered the world… all four of them. Patchwork is extremely relieved that she is no longer the size of a balloon, and has settled into motherhood quite nicely. Sir Percy is next door with that same old stupid look on his face which means he has no idea he’s now a parent. I put one of his children in with him for a quick visit, and all he did was stare dumbly at it, before going back to finish off his cucumber. Some father he is…IMG_3334

When my younger brother met the new arrivals, he pointed to each one, naming them Frodo, Sam, Pippin and Merry… Well, they’ve come out better than poor Smeagol did.

So, I have officially reached a grand total of eight squeakers and, with that, the demand for greens has gone sky high. And to think, it all started with one lonely guinea pig…

New Beginnings

So, as if this blog couldn’t get depressing enough, Jewel has left the House of Norman. But the good news is, that unlike Norman- who left under grim circumstances- Jewel has found happy retirement at last from all things “motherly” with a wonderful new family. IMG_3290The little girl who received her was so delighted, you could hear her informing each and every one of her classmates “It’s my guinea pig!”, and with such happy pride, I knew Jewel had found a real gem. Smeagol has decided it’s “Uni Life” for him and will embark on his new adventure this Tuesday (he’s getting there before me, the little fur ball…). So there are happy adieus for the remaining inhabitants of the House of Norman as they breathe a sigh of relief, anxious to get more hutch space now that there are less guinea pig to deprive them of their rights…

A Great Pal

Norman passed away. I found him lying down in the corner of his cage Saturday morning, just as if he were fast asleep. He’s been my pal for 3 ½ years and in that lifetime he has been such a strong wee fellow- outliving his brother, his first wife and even one of his daughters. He was getting old and I did expect him to die sometime this year, but it was still heart-breaking to see that little gravestone at the bottom of our garden. And yet I can truly say, he has had one amazing life for a guinea pig! A brother, two wives and then five children is the ultimate dream for any furry animal. And in the last few weeks before his death, he was finally granted a son and heir. Yes, Smeagol is, in fact, a boy and deeply offended that his introduction to the internet world was ruined by my lack of judgement (see blog post below).

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Nonetheless, Norman’s legacy lives on through his marvellous family who appear to be oblivious of his absence, where their only concerns are their empty food bowls.  That’s one thing Norman certainly passed on. Yes, he loved both his wives and adored his children, but when it really came down to it, food was his first love. And if ever there was a love story, that was it.

It’s a GIRL!!

There are non-stop squeaks of joy at the House of Norman! At ten minutes to two on the 22nd of January 2014, Jewel successfully delivered a healthy baby girl. Norman’s a proud father for the third time and somewhat relieved that he doesn’t have to deal with the never-ending demands of a new-born, being happily situated in the compartment next door. 

IMG_3111Sir Percy won’t stop squeaking and no amount of food will shut him up. I think he’s trying to tell Patchwork she’d better hurry and have her own ones soon or he’ll never live it down. Fathers can be so competitive…

And the happy mother is now eagerly anticipating retirement. She’s going to pack it in once she sees this little one off and live the rest of her life eating parsley and green beans.

And as for the new member of the family, she’s been dubbed Smeagol by my brother who thinks she crawls around like her namesake with those big sprawling feet of hers…