Finally got the last component of the Cavy Castle, so now I feel I can upload photos of the thing in all its beauty. Audrey has been jumping all over the place, which I think is a sign she likes it. The ramp, though they have mastered climbing down it, is still causing some problems, although I suspect they are teasing me… When I left a trail of parsley up it, and left the room, it all vanished in a matter of seconds… but they won’t show me how they do it!

The fleece ‘bedspreads’ were made by the Lovely Lorraine, of Guinea Pig Comforts. They’re so easy to put on, and look like they’ll make cleaning up a great deal easier, too.






Introducing… Frida and Audrey

Frida is, of course, named for the artist Frida Kahlo. We visited Frida’s home in Mexico when we were there, and her life has always fascinated me. Her paintings, dark but somehow still beautiful, haunt me. I think they might even have inspired the novella I’m working on at the moment. As you will know, Frida always painted herself with an impressive monobrow. Thus the name. Frida was the first to eat from my hand, but is also the least brave. She doesn’t jump around quite as much as her housemate, and she often burrows her way under the bedding so I lose her.


Audrey wouldn’t let me touch her for the first few days. She could run – fast – so she always outran my advances. I was overly timid, perhaps, until my Mother-in-law-sister came over and just reached into Audrey’s hidey-hole and fished her out. Since then, Audrey is happy to be held as long as you don’t annoy her and then she’ll give you a nip on the finger. She jumps around the palace like a crazy when I’m not there, and has started to be a little braver about doing it while I’m in the room.


As I type, they are both listening to Leonard Cohen with me, and even Frida has popped her head out for a little exploration.


Cavy Castle continued…

A grid structure alone, does not a home make. The second part of building the cage involved cutting up a mammoth sheet of corrugated plastic to make ‘trays’ that would fit inside the grids. I have to confess, the whole idea of it just seemed too daunting. I have never been one for measuring things that need to be a perfect fit. Luckily, the husband was home from work after a late-night Superbowl party, so I made use of his talents.

There are many step-by-step instructions for making these trays on the web, so I won’t go through it here. Suffice to say, I wouldn’t have had the patience!

The sides need to be at least six inches high, to avoid the piggies hopping over, though I’ve read somewhere that some can even jump the 14 inches of the grids… Let’s hope we have less athletic pigs.

Score the sides six inches in and you can then fold the sides up.

And here is the finished article. A two story palace for out little guys. The ramp is still something that will need a bit of thought… More on that later.


A sheltered life

Not a post about guinea pigs, but one about myself.

I am reminded, often, that I must have led a very sheltered life. Not because I don’t understand pain and poverty and illness (though I’m sure I don’t understand it as much as some), but because I am often surprised by attitudes in people that seem medieval to me. I was brought up to believe in that eternal truth – the one that can be found in all the religions that ever were – ‘Treat other people as you would wish to be treated’. I teach a whole lesson on it at school. The kids, some of them, even guess it before I reveal quite what the Golden Rule is. Because it is timeless and it is perfect.

So, why is it, that so many people – especially ones who claim to follow this rule – are so narrow-minded and so cruel? Why is it, that so many Christians believe themselves to be ‘allowed’ to judge others in the name of God, or tell other people how to live their lives? Once, I knew a God who loved people. Yes, He said that I should go out and convert people, but I believed that was because people would be happy with God in their lives. I still believe that, but I’m not so sure that most Christians do. Most Christians, I suspect, tell you about God because it makes them feel superior. They are going to Heaven and you aren’t. You silly, little thing.

But I’ll tell you this. I don’t want to go to Heaven if, when I get there, it is full of judgemental, poisonous people. I don’t want to share ‘paradise’ with homophobes, racists, misogynists, idiots. The Jesus I read in the Bible surrounded himself with women, though they were considered lesser; he invited the children to come to him, when his friends said they were a nuisance; he loved women who may have been ‘fallen’ and men who had dubious careers. The only people he didn’t want to spend time with were those religious, judgemental people who kept telling everyone else they were wrong.

The greatest commandment is this: Love the Lord your God… and love your neighbour as yourself. When the Christian Church gets this one right (and not just in rare cases like my Daddy, or lovely Rowan) I might consider coming back.

A house is not a home

Project guinea pig continues. These pigs (when we eventually go out and get some) are going to have a better home than I do!

Today, still waiting for the corrugated plastic which should arrive on Monday, I set about decorating a couple of hidey-holes for the little guys. I started with some very simple wooden huts which I bought online.

Then, using a paint I was assured was pet-friendly and wouldn’t cause too many problems if it got chewed a little, I made them my own. If, when we get the pigs, they decide they like to chew them a little too much, I’ll probably take them out – not sure I like the idea of them eating paint, however ‘safe’ it is.

But paint alone does not a home make. So I decorated them, too, using little wooden embellishments, painted to match.

A good morning’s work. Now to wash the paint out of my hair (don’t ask!).