My life is so full of the extraordinary and another incident has just occurred I would like to tell you about. Three nights ago, Mimi, Blue and I were out in the little garden courtyard place that is close to the lorry. It was our late night ramble and sniff before bed. I noticed Blue nosing at something on the ground and my immediate reaction was it was a dead bird or mouse. There are many feral cats around here as it is remote(ish) from human habitation. They often leave the carcasses and entrails around. It wasn’t though. It was alive and it was a hamster! I scooped it up and gave it a quick once over to check for injury but it seemed fine. It tried to jump away but I put it in my log carrier and found a box some straw and a few smaller boxes it could sleep in while I contemplated its predicament and fate.
In this little courtyard there are four cages. Each has some kind of creature in. The Big House bosses are gradually establishing a petting farm here and I think this is a first step. The hamster had been living rough and surviving on the little bits of food dropped around these cages. His pouches were full when we happened upon him and we had obviously disturbed his nightly foray. How he had arrived there is a mystery. The local houses are at least two miles away and there are no hamsters allowed in the Big House.
The next morning he was still in the box and had eaten the Hobnobs and the lettuce and drank some of the milk and water. He had made a nest of the straw. Various members of my family fought over who would give him a permanent home and arrived during the day to inspect him and provide me with some of the basics that a hamster might like. A wheel, a proper water bottle, some things to wriggle in and out of. And of course a name, which was Jim. They agreed Jim was an old boy, and had been round the block a few times. He reminded them of me! All good. We looked on Ebay for a decent cage and found one locally, finishing Sunday. I messaged them but they wouldn’t accept a Buy It Now. I put a good bid on to make sure I would win. They all thought he would be fine in a box till Sunday. Jim slept all through yesterday.
Last night Jim was very active. You probably know they are nocturnal creatures, but not really being one for little furry things, I didn’t, until last night. Mimi and Blue are really the smallest creatures I could live with permanently. Jim spent half an hour on his wheel and I took him out for a while, but he was very active and wanted all the time to be off and away. He had enjoyed a taste of freedom and wanted it back. He spent a lot of time trying to climb out of the box. His determination to escape concerned me. I don’t like the idea of confining creatures. Apart from the very occasional piece of chicken I have been veggie for some time and hate the idea of any creature being husbanded by humankind. I know, I know, there are huge holes in this argument, I'm inconsistent and I haven’t thought it through, but his desperation to escape bothered me. His natural instinct kicking in of course. He wanted freedom, despite the near certainty that he would be such easy prey for the local wild cats and a tasty meal, no doubt, for one such. We finally went to sleep listening to the sound of Jim scrabbling about in his place.
I woke up this morning to find no sign of Jim. And a little hole nibbled in the box. A desperate search revealed nothing. Jim was gone. Maybe he will show up tonight and pop out from a little nook in the corner of the lorry, but I suspect not.
In many ways I am pleased. I would never have set him free or not picked him up, but the fact that he has made an, albeit unknowing choice to chance his luck in the patch of ground alongside the lorry and not live out his remaining time being provided for and scampering nightly in a plastic wheel is something I can really identify with. Put me in a warm retirement home with three meals daily, a cosy bed and occasional visits from friends and family would make me bite holes in the wall too.
Good luck and bon voyage Jim. At least he’s had a couple of quiet day’s sleep and a belly full of hamster food. A taste of the ‘good life’. Or was it?
For sale; a hamster cage, a wheel and a packet of hamster food. Hardly used. Any reasonable offer accepted.
All the best from a road near you,