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The Original "Getting Real"

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Saturday, 24 January 2009

Dorothy and Douglas

Guinea Pigs are such gentle creatures and so wise. Once I bought (it's odd that you can 'buy' creatures) a guinea pig called Douglas and, feeling sorry for his solitude, bought him a mate and Douglas gained the middle name Abraham 'father of a nation' because the outcome was my having 26 guineas. Dorothy was Douglas' 'wife'. She was the 'Marilyn Monroe' of guinea pigs, having a huge quiff of pure golden hair over her eye, and such a silky coat that she was particularly beautiful.
Guinea Pigs don't blink or have eye-lids and one day Douglas had a fleck of sawdust in his eye. He made a different sound than usual and immediately Dorothy, who was in a different part of their living quarters, came running. She went to the water bottle, filled her mouth with water and then, putting her mouth to his head, let the water trickle over his eye. The sawdust was washed away. He made a kind of, "Hmm..." sound and she squeaked and went back to whatever she was doing before (probably stashing away a cabbage stalk or a carrot!).
Some time later, I was cleaning out their hutch and they usually ran happily onto the grass, but this day they were quite frantic about something. I didn't know what was the matter but they were beside themselves on the grass, trying to get my attention. Being a foolish human, I ignored them but when I tipped out the rubbish from their hutch, I found a little baby pig. He startled me, so I called him Startle. Once he was back with them, they went about their munching grass business as usual.
And, speaking of grass...When there wasn't enough grass here to satisfy all 26 needs, I used to go each day to Temple Newsam House to gather dandelion leaves and grass there. One day, it was the time of the big rock concerts that used to be held there, and I was stopped going in by a bouncer. I rolled down the car window and said, "I don't want to stay. I've only come for some grass..."
He shuffled about a bit, then said, "Have you any Rizla papers with you?"
Confused and somewhat naive, I said, "No."
He shook his head and I was turned away. And laughed all the way home, suddenly realizing that 'grass' meant something completely different to him!
Guinea pigs are lovely. I wish they would stop being synonymous with nasty experiments.

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