with 7 comments

Felix and Harriet, circa 2009

It was warm here yesterday and the day was a bit topsy-turvy with little boys out and big boys here and me almost forgetting my shrink appointment and mum taking my niece to the movies.

Long story short.

RIP Cocoa Taco Powder and Harriet. Two of the greatest guinea pigs a family could ever neglect/showerwithloveandaffectionoutofguilt/neglect/love!/neglect/ADORE! had died from heat-stroke.

Cocoa was already in GP Heaven by the time my niece found her. Harriet was clearly almost touching the light but we brought her back with a (very) cold bath.

What ensured was me trying to cool her down but not shock her, trying to re-hydrate her but not too much as water would get into her lungs and cause pneumonia and so on and so forth. It was so tenuous we were all holding our breath for hours, willing her to live.

We had her wrapped in a damp towel resting on a bed of straw in a box and took her with us as we went to my in-laws for dinner.

Felix and I remarked that she had picked up! just as we were turning onto the Wakehurst Parkway but barely two kilometres later I looked at her, looked at Felix and said, ‘is she OK?’ and no, she was not. He couldn’t feel her heart beating. We pulled over just near Oxford Falls and checked. Harriet had succumbed.

At my in-laws I prised the two little fellas away from Wii and explained to them what had happened. As I did Jasper’s arm around me got tighter and tighter. And as I quietly told them that Harriet had died in the car on the way there, Jasper said, ‘we’ll have to go to the shops and buy two new ones and call them the same names now.’

That’s right son, because nothing overcomes grief quicker than some retail therapy seeking immediate replacements.

Jasper and Harriet c 2009*

Grover’s initial concern was more about ‘his’ one, Matilda, the runty little guinea pig which was Harriet’s sister, replete with mutant extra toes and a wily nature that always sees her as the one who escapes. ‘But what about my one? what about my one? is it dead? Did it die?’ No, she’s fine. ‘Oh, phew,’ he said, ‘that’s lucky. But that’s sad isn’t it. That Harriet and Cocoa are dead.’

Yes son, yes it is.

Two graves dug. Two burial ceremonies held.

Now the eternal vigil that the chickens don’t dig – or scratch as the case may be – them up.


*sadly there seem to be NO pictures of Cocoa, despite her being with the family for a year. Or more recent shots of Harriet. #telling


PRIOR to the guinea pig massacre of 2012 I had commented to my MIL that one of the fish was on the out. It had been coming – I’d noticed a ‘sore’ for want of a better word on one of its sides a few weeks back and thrown in some outrageously priced special stress-relief fluid that does actually seem to perform miracles on our marine pets.

She (he?) had put in a good innings for a gold fish, ableit she was white with orange spots on her head. What? My boys have a penchant for choosing the ugliest fish in the pet shop. It’s a gift. But I think she was at least three years old, maybe even older. Pretty good huh.

Then yesterday she was gawping at the bottom of the tank rather than frantically waving at me from the top corner desperate to catch my attention to feed her again (seriously, fish can turn a ‘look’ at you more heart-melting than a dog pleading with you for some of your dinner rather than the chicken beaks and arses in a roll you normally serve them.

It prompted me to *finally* clean the tank, all the while reminding myself that this process would undoubtedly have the equivalent effect as Neil’s punching a fish to death in The Inbetweeners it was long overdue.

Sure enough, post cleaning there she was, gawping at the bottom of the tank but now upside-down.

Yeah, you were a good fish. See ya.


Between the fish death and the guinea pig disaster Felix went off for a bike-ride. Some of the first physical activity he’s done since school broke up WEEKS ago. He was back sooner than expected and just as I went to give him a hard time I saw the red face, the sweat, the tears and then the blood.

Poor kid had GONE OVER THE HANDLEBARS on his bike going down a hill near our place.

Bad grazing on elbow, shoulder and hip, sore wrist and a MASSIVE chunk out of his helmet.

It *could* have been so.much.worse.


So excuse me while today I do very little and achieve absolutely nothing.

Written by allconsuming

January 19th, 2012 at 4:36 pm