• neil

Day 86 (11 June): 'ave an apidae

I was tootling round my garden this morning checking on the progress of the flowers I planted some weeks ago. They are, for the most part, doing very well. I am especially pleased with a section of wild flowers which I sowed from seed. Already the flower heads are being visited by numerous bumble bees. It is all very idyllic. Watching an apidae (and simultaneously singing the song) brought to mind the expression “busy as a bee”. I find them not so much busy as diligent; after all, they are not moving at breakneck speeds. Not that have necks to break; note to self: do a post on the bee thorax - why do they have an axe? why is is sore? why do bees lisp?

What they are doing is purposefully and continually moving from nectar source to nectar source. They remind me of postmen or, that disappearing species, the English milkman, wending their way patiently but persistently from house to house to house. Nobody compares bees with postmen and I feel I should endeavour to correct this.

When my permanently pickled postie next passes my door I shall ask him to step down from his motor scooter in order to ascertain whether his bottom is furry and striped. You are opening new worlds for me.

Today’s guest writers: the guinea pigs Noodle and Loempia.

At last somebody is asking what we think.

Well, for starters, that dog doesn’t know it is born. Runs in the woods and the toughest thing she has to do is lie on a cushion in front of the fire while he reads. Evenings spent dreaming daft doggy dreams, making cutesy little moans and agitating her back legs like she’s on a bike.

We spend our whole lives in a cage navigating around our own poo. Apart from food, water, poo and us - what is in that cage? A hut, a tunnel and a toy. The tunnel goes to a point in the very same cage just thirty five centimetres further on - and the toy? A giant sized carrot. Or so we just learned by seeing something similar on the web. At first, being on the wrong site, we suspected it was a 'sex toy'. But even after looking through all the guinea pig pages we still think it was a stretch to expect us to think 'carrot' when we see this. It is a bit like expecting the dog to think 'Oh look - Santa made me a reindeer’ when you stick antlers on his head at Christmas. Oh. You do expect that…

Anyway, while doing the research to ensure the accuracy of our one and only contribution, we went to 'ultimatepethub' (n.b. PEThub - that's what caused the confusion with the carrot) to be able to calculate what proportion of our lives has been spent in confinement. We soon realised that we have effectively always been in confinement. Just without masks and sanitiser. We hadn’t really given it much thought before.

But the big blow was learning that we only live five years to eight years! Here we were making plans for higher education and it turns out we don’t even make it much beyond kindergarten.

It gets worse. We stumbled across a page entitled ‘Five Signs Your Guinea Pig Is Dying’ which included sneezing and being slow to respond to commands.

This has us really worried. Who ever gave commands to a guinea pig? RTFM humans! You feed and water us and we look cute and that’s an end of it. Are we to take it that if we fail to jump through hoops of fire or juggle while standing on our hind legs (God forbid we sneeze) you are going to whisk us out of our cage and put us through the waste disposal grinder like you did the goldfish? Can we mention that?

So here we are confined to a tiny space, desperate to learn a few tricks to ensure a full life span. Loempia is learning to play dead - we are big on irony. I’m working on playing ‘Dixie’ on an imaginary mouth organ. I look just the same as when I’m feeding but I’m counting on the human grasping the nuances.

Have a lovely day humans!


Noodle, Loempia, Alfie and Neil

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