March 2012 Archives

Hamster Adventures

2011 started well but sadly in August, after fighting the inevitable fight against Old Age, Charlie was put to sleep. He fought well, and was his usual happy little self right up until the end, even though he could hardly move in his last day. He was our gorgeous little friend and we will always miss his cheeky, lazy manner and his little beady eye. Everyone who met him fell in love with him. We're not sure how many miles he did in the end as we lost track when we moved down here, although it was certainly well into the tens of thousands, and he was always ready to play when he reached his destination.Living in rented accomodation I couldn't face burying him here to move on in a few years time and leave him behind, and so we did the logical thing of wrapping his little body up in a shroud and putting him in a tuppaware box in the freezer. Next time we went to visit Dad we took him with us and buried him, in his wooden house, under the apple tree in the garden. I hope he finds a log in hammy-heaven to use as a base for all his 'splorings.

Inevitably, with the empty cage on the specially-bought coffee table/hamster cage table, Kev and I started casually looking for hamsters up for adoption and came across "Bell". "Bell" was a four-month old female hamster with very pale ginger mottles over her white fur, and where Charlie was "damaged stock", "Bell" was "past her sell by date". The name just didn't suit her. We still haven't found a name that really suits her, but we call her Winter as it sort of suits her. Her full name is Winter Bella Tiny-Marcusetta Andy-Andy Arlott, and she is as mad as a sackful of badgers on speed. Never have I seen a hamster chew anything as much as Winter does. Never have I seen a hamster choose not to sleep in a house/log/nook but make an elaborate nest of tissue, covering half the cage floor. Never have I seen a hamster burrow with the vigour Winter displays. I'm very grateful she's in the glass cage, as I think she'd get out of a normal cage.

Winter is quite a sizeable hamster - at only four months old she was already bigger than Charlie or Biscuit when they were much older. She has only continued to grow, so the super sized hamster tank is probably about the right size for her.

As such, the tank is too big to
transpot anywhere if we need to take Winter with us, and, the manic-chewing machine she is, it's too risky to put her in the small cage. We had to come up with a better solution.

In December 2011, Kev and I went on holiday to Cornwall. But how to take Winter with us. A chance visit to Dad, who happened to be throwing out some very large plastic storage containers ("Spacious and durable!") on wheels, provided a solution.

We (by we, I mean, Kev) cut a hole in the lid big enough to accomodate the top grill from the tank cage. With no sticky-out bits inside, Winter had nothing to chew, and so a lightweight hamster transporter the same size as the tank was born. The trip to Cornwall demonstrated how effective it was - Winter seemed happy (although doesn't travel as well as Charlie) in it and actually seemed to enjoy the change of scenery. Problem solved!

Quick Catch Up

It's been a long time since Kev or I posted on here properly and a lot has happened!

The wedding went well - we had a wonderful day, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves! And so now we are officially Mr and Mrs Arlott. Thanks again everyone who could make it and for all the lovely gifts we were given, they were all very thoughtful and have all been used!

About two weeks after the wedding, I got a call from a company I had an interview with in January offering me the job (they turned me down initially, but thankfully remembered me when some more work came up!) and so at the end of April Kev and I moved down to the outskirts of Southampton to a little flat, in the servants quarters of an old Victorian mansionette. Charlie (of course) made the journey with us, but his super-cage-tank was damaged in the move - he was a bit miffed at spending the next couple of weeks back in his travel cage.

The flat is quite small but it's more than big enough for the two of us. The main building is surrounded by much of its original gardens, including an old vegetable patch gone wild, manicures lawns and some wonderful old trees (including but not limited to the biggest horse chestnut I have ever seen, some interesting oak varieties, a larch, a fir and a mighty Scots Pine, but sadly no lofty flowering cherries and I'm not sure about the plucky little aspen). Being on the second floor and surrounded by trees it's often a little bit like being in a fully kitted out tree house. We have bird feeders on the windows and get regular visits from blue-, great- and coal-tits and even a family of nuthatches (and, on one occasion, a spotted woodpecker).

We finally got around to replacing Charlie's cage about a month after moving in, instead of the same size opting for one 5 inches longer. Charlie loved to be back in his log again and continued enjoying his adventures, especially when he started to explore the whole flat (although on multiple occasions, and quite by accident, not in his ball).

In my job (Marine Geophysicist, then Senior Geophysicist the following year) I enjoyed processing a range of geophysical data including magnetometer, sidescan sonar and sub-bottom data. Sub-bottom is definitely my favourite and something that never ceases to amaze me, despite it being something I have spent the majority of my time processing.

Kev was offered a job later in the year with a pretty big company based in Frimley - it means an hour long commute for him but he insists this isn't a problem!

Putting so many miles on the W reg Astra meant it had it's ups and downs and in September 2010 it failed it's MOT. We replaced it with...Another white Vauhall Astra estate, slightly newer! This one had a mere 88k on the clock, but this later turned out to be someone had clocked it (although the seller, a dealer, denied all knowledge of it) and we think it had somewhere in the region of 120k when we got it, which is annoying.

We both started playing badminton with some of my friends from work which turned into a twice-weekly habit. We're both getting pretty good now and it's definitely helped the two of us keep fit.

In late November my works had a Christmas Party, and we got the excuse to dress up and have some fun with our new friends.

Christmas 2010 was spent up in North Wales - for a second year heavy snow covered the whole country and we managed to get some fairly impressive photos of Kev snowboarding on the beach at Black Rock Sands.

We spent the weekend after our first anniversary in Florence. What a beautiful and inspiring city! I am also trying to learn Italian in my own time, but motivation issues are slowing me down.

Sadly we lost Charlie in early August 2011, and gained Winter two weeks later- I will post about that separately.

September saw Kev compete in the Euros at Hoylake, and our first package holiday to Isola di San Pietro, in Sardinia. It made a nice change to be able to swim comfortaby in the sea - I have never swum in a warm sea before! We did a load of snorkelling, and Kev enjoyed using his prescription mask and being able to see the multitude of fish.

That pretty much brings us to where we are now - so much for a "Quick Catch Up"!!