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The Guinea Pig Diaries - 3 - Guinea Pigs & Sheep


I wrote a blog entry. It took a while and then it deleted itself. Frustrations of the internet. So here we go. Let’s try and replicate it again.


17:00 I have returned home now. Post op. For a while I waddled around like E.T but with sassy white hospital bra and pants, which alongside my dirty red hair, making me resemble a curvier, dirtier less athletic version of Lelu in The Filth Element. I’m coming off a mild opiod addiction which means I sleep for twenty minutes, awaken, hallucinate, have weird dreams, feel as if I have already lived the day once. Everything feels heavy, my stomach has developed into a bowling ball of tension. Occasionally I am unsure if I have already had the day or if I am still dreaming. Similar to Buffy in the episode Normal Again, except, rather than dreaming I am in a Mental hospital I dream I am in Jongleurs, which in some ways is a similar thing.

At hospital I was visited by the weird and the weirder. My dad turned up to tell me about Brexit and No Deal whilst I had a blood test, my brother arrived to show me how good he is at talking to other people on his phone, Rob arrived just at the moment when I was about to receive a very practical enema from Claude the nurse, and Phil Ellis, the Quentin Blake long-limbed comedy lethario came in, and not only cheered me up with copies of Pick Me Up but also tried to score Orimorph off of the nurse, Claude. She nearly relented.

In and out of consciousness, in between blood pressure checks and physio exercises makings sure I can urinate efficiently, Tobias came to visit and when I opened my eyes to see him on my bed for a moment I thought I was dying and meeting Jesus. Then I realised that Toby hadn’t shaved. Then I went home.

Today - I’ve been sent upstairs to my room and put in a rocking chair, while my mum does important things around the house. So I look out of the window at the sheep. And rock in my rocking chair. Like the Woman in Black. There is one sheep I have grown to particularly love. Unlike the other sheep, he cannot eat grass naturally by dipping his neck down. Instead he has to lower his front two legs and dip forward into the grass, resembling a downward dog position. Then, once he is in this position, he rotates his entire body 350 degrees around the spot he has inhabited, then he gets up, moves along and does it again. I call it helicopterting.

I mentioned it to my mum and she’s mentioned I should talk to the farmer tomorrow and check if he is ill. I then asked how much it would cost to rescue a sheep. “About £100 probably” said my mum.... “Do you even have that type of money?”, “Not yet…. but considering I am 1) not going out 2) not doing anything 3) not spending anything 4) saving up and 5) going to work VERY HARD next year, I am sure I can save up and do a deal with the farmer to rescue an injured sheep".

My argument to my mother is that we already have several rescued Shetland ponies that my mum took from the RSPCA after they were found on the side of the motorway and we also have a pet cat called THE CAT, which our friend, Alan, had discovered in a plastic bag by the river. Country life. So a sheep really wouldn’t be that out of place. Also, we already have seven rescued sheep called the Four Marys. (There were originally four but we had got the genders wrong and next thing you know we’ve got a few extra Marys) .

So, that’ say job for tomorrow.

People often take the mic of sheep. They think they are stupid and poddling and inelegant. Nothing could be further from the truth. Having watched them for nearly 8 hours from my rocking chair (it really has been an exciting day), I can tell you now there is elegant precision, structure and diligence in the way they walk. Each leg perfectly straight out in front, long necks overseeing their future food. They are the headmasters of the farm. And when they get stuck, boy do they leap like gymnasts! I very much do like sheep. Cows, I can understand why people giggle at them. But I am very afraid of cows, so I won’t write any more here.

One crucially exciting thing is that I am now the owner of two gorgeous Guinea Pigs. Ian McCulloch and Clara Cupcakes, named after two of my favorite alive performers. On the Wednesday before my op Rob and I got an uber from Brixton to Richmond in rush hour traffic (YES I KNOW IT IS NOT PRACTICAL) - so we could go and look at guinea pigs at the This Little Piggy rescue home in Richmond.

Rob thought it was a silly idea considering I had been ill all day and he thought I should rest. I told him "Yes I probably should rest but my ovaries are going wild with the desire to love something and my mental health is at breaking point… please let me hold little fluffy squeaky balls of love dough. Unless you are prepared to give me a child we can name John Carpenter." And so we went to see the Guinea Pigs. Heather, one half of the team that operate This Little Piggy showed us around. She and a group of volunteers save, rehome and rehealth guinea pigs all over the country, of all breeds, shapes and sizes. Abandoned, given up, or simply not able to be looked after anymore - every guinea pig we met had a different story to tell. Some had been in gangs, the circus, boarding schools, terrifying nursery classrooms as ‘the pet’, owned by demon children like Sid from Toy Story… and some were simply old and ill, and some had simply just done a runner. We met Tiny and Tim, Tiny was blind, Tim was his guide pig. They were inseperable. Tiny was a superhero by night and they both worked as lawyers by day. We met two very fluffy girls who loved to popcorn and dance about their cage. We walked around what felt like large apartment blocks of clean cages with fresh hay and a sweet smell of fur and fresh food. I didn’t estimate just how calming and joyful the sound that guinea pigs make is, it is a bubble bath for your ears of cooing and soft little squeaks - each communicating something different. Finally, I discovered my guineas. A long haired Peruvian, who resembled Courtney Love in healthier days and a punk haired Abysinian. The Peruvian had been mistreated before Heather had rescued her. When Heather had discovered her, her long hair was a mop of dirt, knots and matts. She hated to be touched and although, according to Heather, she is an absolute sweet heart now “She does have a habit of pretending to be dead, which you do have to learn to get used to”. A drama queen. Like me. Her partner was a little punk rocker, ginger, black and white tufts of hair jutting all over the place with a white spike at the top of his head. The Sid to her Nancy. But a healthier, happy, more stable version. So in fact, not like Sid at all. This Little Piggy do amazing work and there are so many guinea pigs looking for homes. If you want to donate to their home - you can do so here. x

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