(Nick here, guest blogging while Frances is in Norway)
A hiatus from the Hebrides photos (more tomorrow – promise!). There were various squeals of delight after I teased you all with that photo of Archie and Fergus on Sunday, so here are the full crew of 10.
Archie is the daddy and the grandaddy (literally) of the guinea pig family. He is about 5 years old now (I don’t know exactly – my OH keeps track better than me). He is also by far the tamest – the only one who doesn’t scurry for cover at the slightest noise, and he is happy to sit and have his middle parting tickled for as long as you have the energy. A heart of gold, and yet a randy bugger, as you’ll find out…
Lumi is the mother and grandmother of the bunch. She is still a little shy, as you can see from her coy expression here. ‘Lumi’ is Finnish for ‘snow’ and she was named by our son. When we put her with Archie, she was pregnant in no time, and gave birth to four little bebbies, who are next.
Roo, or Roo-bear, has a cute black hat that is utterly endearing. She is the boss of her little coterie, consisting of her, her mother and her sister Piglet. She recently had to have a rather painful gallstone removed – we were allowed to keep the offending item which is as big as a peppercorn. I dread to think what the equivalent would be in a human, but she has soldiered on and is as cheeky and bossy as ever.
Roo’s sister Piglet is the long-suffering sister. She and her mum just basically do what Roo tells them. However when it comes to treats (carrot, cucumber or cabbage) they will all fight their best to get more than their fair share, even though we always give them equal portions.
Hamish is, rather surprisingly, a girl. After she was born, the vet reliably informed us that she and Rabbit were boys, while Roo and Piglet were definitely girls. So we separated them by sex, with Hamish and Rabbit going to live with Archie, while Lumi had custody of the others. A few months later however, when I went to visit them in the garden, both Hamish and Rabbit were distinctively fatter, and sure enough, a few days later, we had been gifted with five more little pups, in a huge variety of colours.
This is Rabbit, named for her distinctive rabbit-like colouring. She too was thought to be a boy on birth, but thankfully she doesn’t have to suffer the indignity of a particularly masculine name. She is also a little shy and bossed about by her sister Hamish, but she does get on better with her daughter Crinkle.
…and here is the aforementioned Crinkle, with the best expression ever. She won’t let her mum Rabbit take too much nonsense from Auntie Hamish, and can more than hold her own in a food fight.
This is Hamish’s son Donald, who lives with his brother Douglas. He keeps insisting that his hair grows like that naturally, and is definitely NOT a toupee. He has promised to make guinea pigs great again, and we suspect he has a red baseball cap somewhere.
Douglas is a few shades darker than his brother, and has a white stripe down his nose. These two are lovely company – for each other and for us, as they are both almost as tame as their dad (who is also their grandad but we won’t go there for now). As a result of the unexpected inbreeding, they both have an extra toe on their back feet, but are otherwise perfectly happy, healthy piggies.
Fergus lives with his dad/grandad, and is the brother of Crinkle. He has an adorable white face, and is not shy of demanding food whenever we are near. He has a middle parting as impressive as Archie’s, and once tried to go and visit his cousins Donald and Douglas after escaping from his temporary indoor accommodation. They did all get along, but Archie was lonely, so we had to put him back.
Those of you who have been counting will note that I have talked about 10 piggies, when there were 11 at one stage. Sadly, Rabbit’s other daughter Flora developed pneumonia and we lost her a few months ago.
A quick postscript, I’m sure Frances won’t mind – most of the landscape photos you’ll see me posting this week are available for sale as prints from my site. Please do have a browse!