A fond farewell to our mischief ❤️🐀

Much has changed in our little corner of the world over the past few months as life has moved on in all its usual ways. As we move into another new season, and my very favourite at that 🍁❤️, it’s good to find the time to take stock on everything around us and find our feet where we are. There’s been so much going on, lots of it very exciting, and I’m very much looking forward to catching up on it all here very soon; but first of all I wanted to write just a little post in honour of my boys.

At the beginning of the summer, just a few weeks apart, we said our last goodbyes to both Jasper and Jet, our lovely elderly rat boys; and in doing so also closed a chapter nearly a decade long of owning and caring for pet rats.

Jasper and Jet were such lovely characters, and were a wonderful part of our home and family. Having lived with us two years, and reaching an age of around 2y10m each, it was lovely to have been able to have them so long and to have got to know them so well.

Arriving in July 2017, desperately needed companions for our little rat Perry who had been left unexpectedly alone, they could not have fulfilled their role as his buddies any better, giving him such comfort and friendship in his last months, before going on to live with us themselves through two more years of changing times and family life, adjusting to a new normal with the arrival home of our newborn daughter and over time as she grew older being her first wonderfully patient and kind teachers in animal handling and care. ❤️

For me, it’s very strange not to have any rats at home any more, having fallen so in love with them as pets and having had 14 over the last nine years, as well as the 4 in my childhood. Life seemed just a little too hectic at the moment to take on any more right now (though I found I just couldn’t be completely without pets in the house and we do have a new addition in the form of a content little hamster, Sandy, who I will write about very soon!); but I do hope maybe one day we’ll have rats again.

Our little group changed and evolved over the years and from 2010 – 2019 we were blessed to have Smokie, Peatie, Sylvie, Lizzie, Chae, Winston, Pipkin, Harvey, Ty, Reuben, Perry, Marley, Jasper and Jet in our home.

I named this blog when I first started writing about our pets to include the most appropriate group term I’ve ever come across – our “mischief of rats” were truly full of mischief, full of fun, and brought so much love and joy for all the years we had them.

❤️

Little Grace and the rest ~ In praise of rescue pets

This morning’s “Facebook memory” transported me back to a day I remember so very well, and I felt the same wave of excitement and happiness I did at the time – six years ago today we adopted our very first rescue pet, our beautiful little hamster Grace.

I’d grown up with rescued dogs and cats in my childhood and knew how rewarding the journey with a pet given a second chance at life could be; but we’d never adopted or rehomed in our adulthood pets journey – and in fact I didn’t really know there was the opportunity for it in the small animal sphere.

I heard about Grace through a fellow rat owner, who had seen her advertised for free online and been worried about her fate so decided to take her on and find a good home for her. When she went to collect her, she found her being kept in a small plastic tub with air holes cut in, no way of seeing out, and an old injury had left her with only one ear. She was also extremely small for a Syrian hamster, but, no doubt due to what we would come to know was her irrepressible character, she didn’t let anything that might have happened in the first few months of her life dampen her spirits; and within hours of her temporary owner getting her home she was racing around a new cage, and had commandeered a 12″ rat wheel put in with other odds and ends “just in case” to give her some enrichment. She was so tiny on it but made it go effortlessly and absolutely loved it – in fact when she came to live with us we got her one the same size and she loved it all her days.

We brought Grace home on Valentines Day 2012, and she was the most wonderful addition to our little family and brought so much joy in her time with us.

She also began for us a habit of seeking to rescue our pets whenever we could – I had already decided to avoid pet shops for any new additions after learning about the rodent farming practices that can often be used by them; and as this left us with independent breeders or rehoming as our main options, we were always so happy if we found the chance to give a pet a second chance at life come up.

Just as I know it is with larger pets – and in many cases more so as time with the little ones is so much shorter and more precious – it’s so very rewarding to see rats and hamsters find their feet in a second home, and I have always found it such a wonderful thing to be able to do. There are often challenges of course – Lizzie, our first rescue rat, who came from the SSPCA in 2012, and Pipkin, our very troubled but so wonderfully special boy, adopted in 2014, had significant behavioural issues, but seeing them gradually overcome their fear of the world around them was the best feeling in the world.

Lizzie and Pipkin ❤

Healthwise too, the little ones’ starts in life often compromised them – Chae, Winnie and Pipkin were part of a large-scale rescue that made the news in our area, where 300 rats were found being kept in one house in terrible conditions – they were actually kittens born in the SSPCA centre to one of the many pregnant does, so never lived in the house, but the in-breeding that had happened over so long left them all with very poor health and they all suffered from respiratory issues most of their lives. Still though, in spite of the odd jaunt to the vets and medication hidden in fruit juice every evening, they got so much out of their lives, and gave us so much too in return; really appreciating everything we did for them.

Winston Rat loving old age despite his ailments ❤

Of all the lovely animals we’ve owned, the rescues have often been those we’ve grown closest to, and the length of time they’ve had to spend with us has had no correlation to how much they’ve meant to us – Darcy the bustling hamster only lived with us the last six months of his life but I loved him so very much and he was a wonderful character.

Darcy

There are so many wonderful aspects to a life with rescue pets, big or small, and I’d recommend it to anyone considering taking on a new addition.

Grace, Sylvie, Lizzie, Chae, Winnie, Pipkin, Darcy, Rosie, Jasper and Jet all in their second home with us. ❤

Enjoying looking back on little Grace’s arrival and all the others’ time with us too.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend. X

The Pets of Christmas Past… 🎄

This weekend has been Christmas decorating weekend in our little house; and yesterday we spent a busy but enjoyable day dragging our beloved (if a little lopsided!) potted Christmas tree in from the garden for his annual stint indoors and hanging our lights, stockings and strings of cards and decorations around the rooms – before settling in for a lovely and cosy night around the tree, watching It’s a Wonderful Life (♥️) and enjoying the season really and truly being here.

Earlier in the day, as we began the preparations, I did try to engage the boys in playing their role and even offered them a little festive hat each to get them in the spirit (thank you innocent smoothie caps! 😂😂) but, alas, in true Jasper and Jet style, they were not to be convinced that Christmas dressing-up was the way forward – though, if allowed, they would have spent a happy half hour shredding the pom poms off the top… 🙄

Laughing at the wee ones’ antics got me to reminiscing about all the many Christmasses we’ve shared over the years with the furry members of our family, what characters they’ve been and those who have loved the season most. So, on a very frosty Sunday morning, holed up cosily with a coffee under the twinkling lights, have enjoyed taking a trip down memory lane and recalling some of our favourite Christmas memories with the little ones.

There was never anyone for donning a Santa hat, languishing in front of the fire and lights, tearing into a stocking and most of all revelling in every shred of packing paper like our floppy-eared lionhead rabbit Simba, who made all the Christmasses we were blessed enough to share with him that little bit fuller of chaos and joy.

The first few years my husband and I lived together, in the much-loved little old cottage that was our first home, were years we loved so much – and that we filled with rats, hamsters and Simba as their ring-leader, enjoying them all so very much. I always loved filling stockings for the wee ones and coming up with new ways for them to enjoy the season – but mostly they found those themselves too just in exploring all the new climbing frames and exciting obstacles around the room December brought – most of all the prickly green one!

Some of my much-loved rats of Christmas past – Smokie, Peatie, Sylvie, Lizzie, Chae, Winston and Pipkin – enjoying their Christmas stockings and presents ♥️♥️

… and a few of the most intrepid Christmas-tree climbers and decorating helpers – Smokie, Peatie, Simba, Little Gracie-hamster and Harvey & Ty ♥️♥️ –

And, of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas in Scotland without some wonderful snow memories too – out with the fluffy pony, who is never happier than in the thick of winter stomping around in his bear-like coat, or at my mum and dad’s with their dogs and cats.

Christmases and games in the snow with Charmer, Ginny, Maisie, Phoebe and Jess ♥️♥️

Christmas morning at the farm especially fills me with a cosiness I can’t describe, and I absolutely love a trip along there as the start of our Christmas Day – everything so still and crisp outside, the barn so full of warmth, and my boy ready to share in some merriment.

So grateful for all the wonderful Christmases we’ve had over the years, and all the wonderful characters we’ve shared them with. Enjoying the beginnings of and looking forward to this one more than ever before, and lovely to spend a quiet weekend getting ready for the festivities ahead.

Merry Christmas all.🎄✨♥️ xx

Caring for the little ones… saying goodbye to Perry x

Reading through some older blog posts this morning, I found that this one, written on an autumn night over a year ago, says everything that’s been on my mind in the last few weeks at this same time of year, as so many of these same themes have come round again.

It’s hard to believe it was only a year ago that we had our little dwarf hamster Rosie still with us, nearing the end of her little life; and that Harvey and Ty were our only two rat boys – given that they went on to make the older part of our little rat family over months to come and that in fact things have gone full circle now and we are back to only two boys again, Jasper and Jet, with H&T, along with Marley, Reuben and Perry, having come and gone from our family in that time, bringing so many good memories with them to long outlast their stays.

We said goodbye to our distinguished gent Perry on October 11th, after a good few weeks of caring extensively for him as he became less able and enjoying seeing him enjoy the attention and cuddles in his last days. He was a fantastic pet; clever, engaging and affectionate too, and we miss him very much already; but it was wonderful to have such lovely times with him at the end of his life, and in those weeks the truth was hit home to me all over again of just how special, how all-encompassing, how anchoring and how heart-softening it is, in the midst of the trials of life, to come home each night to a pet needing extra care and attention. I’m so grateful to our little man Perry, and to all our pets past and present for the incredible gift they give us just by needing us.

Have a lovely weekend all. xx

~ Life, Loves and Adventures ~

Driving home last night at the end of a long and busy day, there were more thoughts in my head than I had a hope of getting to line up – until, that is, I reached the animals. First, the horse, drawing into the farm on a dark night and flipping the lights on in the barn, feed piled into his bucket and the stable door propped open before grabbing his headcollar and my torch and making my way across to the gate, from where I could just make out a few heads raising briefly in interest from their grazing down the hill and then, all making short work of identifying me, just my own boy’s bobbing as he made his way up the hill, confident of a reward when he reached the top.

Making our way in he was straight into the stable and nose straight in the…

View original post 595 more words

Marley <3

Sitting at my computer at 6am on a Sunday morning – a huge mug of comforting coffee beside me and Perry as my companion, interchangeably peering at me from behind my laptop screen or from any of the shelves beside me, his whiskery nose quivering over the book edges, and now and then climbing into my arms for a cuddle when he needs it most.

He doesn’t quite know what to make of his world this morning, and, to be honest, neither do I. I have kept small pets virtually all my life. My little grey gerbil Rustler was my first lesson in love and loss when I was only nine or ten, my childhood rats defined my early teenage years, and in the last seven years, during which time we’ve given home to twelve rats, four hamsters and our rabbit, I have known continually that while these little pets can bring a disproportionate level of joy and character into a home, they also come with a measure of inevitable heartache when their short chapters come to a close. Usually, as much as I miss our little ones when they’re gone, I am able to make my peace with this, and in general we have been very blessed with full lives and gentle aging for most of our mischief as they’ve lived out their days.

Just last week however, we had to make the final decision to say goodbye to our little Reuben at just 15 months old, after a month or two of illness we managed as best and as long as we could; and yesterday, unbelievably, we also bade an unexpected farewell to Marley, Reuben’s brother and another of the loveliest rats we’ve ever been blessed with.

Marley had had some respiratory issues over the six months he lived with us, and I had written recently that he’d been on a couple of rounds of Baytril to try to clear any underlying infection and that we were doing steam treatments in the bathroom to help him out; but in general although his breathing was sometimes noisy, he always looked a picture of health and never seemed to be suffering with it. His last course of anti-biotics seemed to have helped and on Friday night Marley, Perry and I spent a long quiet evening on the settee, him in full health and scarpering playfully across the top of the cushions.  Yesterday morning however, we woke to him struggling desperately to breathe and virtually unable to. We rushed him to the vets, who put him on oxygen and did everything they could, but sadly there was nothing at all that could help him, and eventually we had to give the go-ahead for our beautiful boy to be put to sleep and his suffering ended.

I still can’t quite take it in this morning and found myself sleepless here and needing to somehow write it all out.

Marley was very close in character to Reuben and, we believe, a full brother to him. They were both dumbos and both two of the most gentle-natured rats we’d come across. We had already adopted Reuben and Perry last November and had them with us for six weeks when their previous owner had contacted us about another rat she had, who had unexpectedly ended up on his own after she had lost a couple of her others, and who she hoped we would consider taking, as he had previously lived with Reuben and Perry and she knew he would settle with them and be happy. She couldn’t have been more right – bringing him home and letting him meet (or re-meet) R&P barely counted as an introduction, the three of them just curled together instantly and lived in absolute harmony from the first second they were back together.

It was a few days before Christmas that we were asked to take him, and for us, for many reasons, it was a difficult time and not one we would have been in any way looking to add a new pet to our family. But it made sense as a solution, and we agreed to help, not knowing then what joy it would come to bring us.

We brought Marley home on Christmas Eve, naming him for Jacob from A Christmas Carol, in honour of his unexpected arrival into our home on that night, and it didn’t take us long, even in the midst of loss and turmoil, to realise how lovely he really was. Our three boys have lived together in such a truly lovely mischief all these months, the balance between them always perfect.

One of the most difficult things to deal with today is Perry on his own. I would never have guessed when we moved in here with four rats just three months ago that we’d be down to one, when three were nowhere near that age, and it puts us in a difficult position. Perry is very much a rat’s rat, although he has discovered a cuddlier side when out with us at night in the last few weeks, and it would not be fair to keep him on his own, especially when – although there are of course no guarantees – he should have quite a bit of life still ahead of him. It would only be right for him to have friends again, and we would either need to adopt more and introduce them to him – something we’re nervous to do after not managing successfully to get Reuben & Perry and Ty & Harvey in together last year – or, as much as it would hurt, find another group of rats Perry could go to. I don’t think I could really bear that, and it’s all so difficult to have to think about, but we have agreed for just now to rush into nothing and over the next few days do what we can to be there for Perry and give him plenty of time with us.

I’m well aware this blog, usually full of sunrises and sunsets with the horse and fun ideas for games with the wee ones, has taken a depressing turn, but can’t do anything except write it all down.

Marley was a really, really wonderful pet. I will always be glad we took him on, and can’t count the mornings and evenings I’ve sat with him on my shoulder dozing and bruxing away and the way that most simple of things, passing virtually unnoticed, added to my daily life. I’m so glad that before he lost Reuben, who he was so attached to, we all had such a lovely week together away on our holiday, and that he had Perry’s closeness too in his last week without Reuben. Our Friday night was in some ways like any other but I did stop in the middle of it – just cosied on the couch, favourite cosy TV programme playing on the TV, book beside me still open, my husband at the computer just beside us, and both Marley and Perry under a blanket with me, Marley bruxing and boggling and Perry curled fast asleep in what’s recently become a new habit of being more relaxed and cuddly with us than ever – to realise how special it was.

We will never forget Marley, our Christmas Eve boy who came to us just when we needed him most and filled ours, Reuben’s and Perry’s life with happiness.

 

 

 

 

 

Our lovely Reuben ~ April 2016 – 13th July 2017

Today we said our last goodbye to Reuben, our handsome and endlessly loving boy. 

From the first moment we met him he was one of the most people-focused, gentle and kind-hearted rats we’ve ever known – an absolute credit to his first owner – and it hurts to have lost him so young, especially as we were only blessed with his company for eight short months. In a way, that’s hard to believe, as he was such a wonderful character that his time with us felt like so much longer. 

I was more sorry than I can express to discover a month or so ago that our little Reuben would not live into old age and didn’t have too much longer left with us. But as saddening as that was, nothing makes every minute count more than knowing that time is not infinite; and the last week of Reuben’s life was one of the loveliest we’ve spent as a little family, holed up in a holiday cottage, him cuddling with his brothers by day – both Marley and Perry looking out for him as he grew frailer – and with us in the evenings, truly content. 

We first brought Reuben and Perry home during our last holiday back in November, and fell in love with them instantly. From that lazy autumn week at home getting to know our new wee ones, to this past week spending our last days with him; throughout all the months since then Reubes has been a constant and loyal companion to us all.

Rest in peace my wee boy; one of the truly special ones. Xxxx

Goodbye to Ty… 💙

We said our last goodbye to the gorgeous, badger-faced old man Ty at the weekend, after almost 2 and a half years of his companionship.

He first arrived with us in February 2015, with his brother Harvey, who he was absolutely inseparable from until we lost him just back in December. They were only 5 weeks old when we brought them home and knowing them since they were such tiny babies made watching them grow up all the more rewarding.

img_2403

Baby Ty arriving home, Day 1

He was forever our “Shy Ty”, always cautious about new people and things but always content in the rat and human company of those he’d got to know.

He was taught the ropes in life by our old men Chae and Winnie, two lovely boys who lived with Ty and Harvey as soon as they were old enough, and he grew in confidence growing up in their well-balanced group.

Ty with Harvey, Winnie and Chae over the years

Last year, when we added Reuben and Perry to our family, Ty did throw us a curveball proving things don’t always go to plan, and became temporarily nicknamed the “Tyrant” as a result of his unexpected refusal to accept new cagemates. The only thing that maybe could have helped him calm down was neutering, but at already 2 years old we decided not to, so settled to just keeping Harvey and Ty together and the younger boys separate – and later once he lost Harv, Ty did seem to appreciate the company in the next cage as well as ours, even though he was not to be persuaded to share his cage.

Ty was a lovely boy – he loved his brother unbelievably, we’ve never had two rats as constantly snuggled together as them, and was very affectionate with us too – as an older soul I’d just carry him about everywhere in my arms and he’d be happy as long as he was being stroked.


Ty and Harvey at 6 weeks old and at over a year

Although he was showing his age in the last few weeks, his departure this weekend did take us a little by surprise, as without any illness and having seemed bright and animated an hour before he just went to sleep – a bit of a shock for us but for him the most wonderful way to reach the end of his time with us.

Goodbye my Shy Ty, 1st January 2015 – 12th May 2017. 💙


 

Endings and Beginnings

This week began in my little world with a sad goodbye, as I gathered together with my mum, dad, brother and sister to spend a last couple of days with our family dog Ginny, before taking her to the vet to be put to sleep. At nearly 14 years old, Ginny had done so very well and led a full and happy life, but her back legs had been failing her for a while, getting progressively worse, and we knew by this point that after a couple of days in the sun, this was the kindest thing to do for her. The joy animals bring to our lives is never felt more keenly than when we are faced with a hard goodbye, and as we came together for her last few moments in the vet’s room, praising her one last time, the years of family life and us all growing up together, dogs and children alike, were brought into sharp focus. It is easy to get overwhelmed at the end of a life with the final moments, but in fact those aren’t the ones that matter.

The real moments to remember are those that took place over the years, just everyday and often even unnoticed snapshots of our shared lives. The clanging shut of the gate as we came home from school to a young and fit blur of black and tan careering down the garden path to greet us – that tan replaced over the years by white in an ever-elegant ageing. Rambling through the woods with the dogs and the cat never far behind, amusing the neighbours with the Homeward-Bound-style walks the girls always chose to make. Waking up to four black paws landing squarely on the bed, face-licking commencing. Summers in the garden with sticks and balls lazily thrown and now and then some hilarity-enducing attempts at agility courses. Bending down to tell a 9 month old puppy not to lick the plates in the dishwasher, truly believing the message to be received and understood, and smiling in exasperation when chasing away a 12-year-old dog from doing the very same so many years down the line. Each of us children packing up at different times to leave home, nervously stepping away from all the comforts there, and being greeted with such a welcome on visits back. Leaving on our wedding day with kisses goodbye to an always adoring dog, face upturned to us all as ever. Christmas dinners round the big table with wrapping everywhere and the dogs and cat Instagrammed, party hats askew and loving the festivity of the day, before all tumbling out to throw snowballs that Ginny hunted for incessantly once they landed, ever sure that she would find the ball she was sure she’d seen just in the next drift of snow, and ever the puppy she once was nomatter her age.

Looking back, it hasn’t all been plain sailing, and the last few years haven’t been the easiest for our family. In all the different phases of our lives, however, the good times have been made even better by the pets running alongside us on all our journeys, and the worse times been helped by the reassuring weight of a gentle dog’s head in a lap whenever it was needed most.

Ginny was faithful, kind and above all loving, and as our lives meander on in whatever directions they do, she will remain an unforgettable part of our family story forever.

 


In my own little family, we have been preparing for change too, although of a much more positive kind. We are beginning to get things packed up to move house in a few weeks’ time, bringing to an end an era here and beginning a whole new one we’re very excited to start.

We have lived in our little cottage for over six years – it’s the only place we’ve ever lived together and it’s been home to so many memories over the years. It’s quite a thought to be leaving it behind; but we are looking forward unreservedly to starting a new chapter in the new house. It’s close enough to where we are now to mean we keep our same area in many ways, but have a new village to get to know just one along from where we live now, we keep our open fire and gardens and add more space inside and hill views from the windows in the new location which I’m so looking forward to waking to every morning.

 

The hard work has begun sorting and beginning to pack, and it feels, with new starts on the horizon for others in our family as well as us, as if change is all around us. This one though is one I’m so optimistic about making, and we are throwing ourselves both into making the most of our last few weeks here in the house we’ve loved so much and into preparing for the new.

In the midst of it all, when the shifting of  seasons becomes too much, I’m glad to be able to stand still for a moment with my boys, whether pouring morning coffee, spending evenings in in front of favourite TV programmes, taking night-time walks along the waterfront or increasingly light wanders with Charmer on the farm.

 

Starting the day with a curious Marley-rat

 


The daily walk out with my oldest boy ♥

 

In a time of endings and beginnings, heartache and hope, I’m grateful for the family and friends, both human and animal, I have, and for all the memories too of those we’ve loved and lost.

 


Charmer, Maisie (2004-2014), Ginny (2003-2017) and me ♥

Our Ginny ❤

When I was growing up, our house was always filled with as many animals as people – often more. The family life I loved and learned in was defined by the happy stromash of an exuberant springer spaniel puppy, an ageing Labrador, three children, an assorted collection of small pets and a kitten who quickly grew into a cat but never forgot to remain afraid of the lop-eared rabbit who was once upon a time bigger than her. First pets of our own were our first responsibilities and such a big part of growing up – goldfish to begin with and later my little grey gerbil Rustler and my very first rats, Charlie and Brodie, beginning a lifetime passion. 

Above all, we were definitely dog people. My earliest memories involve lying by the fire with our old golden retriever Shane, and as I got older walking our dogs was a highlight of my day and gave me my solitude and thinking time in amongst all the inevitable ups and downs of adolescence. 

Thirteen years ago this spring, we had just lost our last dog, a beautiful old chocolate lab called Penny, and our home just didn’t feel the same. It was only a matter of time before a new member of the family found her way into our lives – which was how it came to be that in 2004, as I was turning 16 and studying for my first round of school exams, I was absolutely besotted with the little black and tan collie pup who had come to live with us. ❤ 

Ginny was very timid when she first arrived – she was only 9 months old and although she had been given to the rescue centre along with her brother, they had made the decision to rehome her away from him as she had struggled to move out from his shadow in her last home. In ours, she initially had only Corrie, our tortoiseshell cat, for company; and, we all firmly believed as the first few years went by, Ginny began to think of herself as a cat too, curling anywhere Cor did and loving nothing more than to sit in a lap and be stroked, with very little regard for how big she was! ❤ 

Back in those days, Gin was so lithe and active and we believed she had some whippet in her as she cut about the woods where we lived, turning on a sixpence and never running short of energy. Thirteen years later, we help her around on walks with a special harness supporting her back legs which are now prone to giving up on her much sooner than she is done with the excitement of being out for a walk. 

From the very beginning of her life with us, Ginny was so loyal and loving to us all. When we all lived at home and she was young and agile she would career through the house of a morning, finding us all in our beds – for years my days began in the best possible way, waking up being pounced on by the puppy, ready to play; a much-loved era and one any stay back at home always brings a happy reliving of nomatter how many years have gone by. 

A faithful sheepdog at heart, Ginny has always taken her self-imposed responsibility to round us all up very seriously indeed; and she has continued to keep tabs on us even as we’ve all grown up and come and gone from the family home; always one eye on the door if we’re not all together, and reaching a level of happiness and relaxation so lovely to see when she has achieved her goal in life and has all of us around her of an evening.

As is life’s way, there have been so many twists and turns in our shared story as the years have gone by, and such a huge expanse of time has been crossed together as a family. People, dogs and cats have merged into our little flock and Ginny has always accepted them without a moment’s hesitatation, adding them to her headcount and extending the same love and loyalty she offers everything in life. There’s no way of knowing what lies ahead, and quite how life might change for us all as it meanders on. But, come what may, I’ll always be grateful for all these years, and for our Ginny dog herding us together and being one of the lights of all our lives. 

With Corrie, 2005:

Playing in the snow, Christmas Day 2009:

Me with Ginny, our beautiful old deerhound Maisie (with us 2007-2014) and Charmer, 2012:

Summers in the garden:

Ginny, Maisie and Phoebe-cat out for a walk in their usual formation, 2013:

Getting ready for my wedding in 2014:

Waiting patiently for someone to come home, 2015:

Out walking with her new younger sister Katy, 2017:

Our Ginny…. ❤❤❤❤❤

Home ❤

Six years ago this weekend, I packed up my much-loved little flat in town, along with my girls, Smokie and Peatie, my first rats since childhood; while my husband (then boyfriend) and his handsome and hilarious lionhead house rabbit Simba did the same in theirs; and we all moved into our home together for the very first time. It’s strange to think that it’s been that long – sometimes it seems like no time at all and at others when I think of all that’s happened in the last six years it feels forever. 

I still remember so clearly sitting down on our first night in our new home, late on – all our lovely helpers gone, books arranged, key turned in the old door for the first time and the remainder of the boxes left for now – just enjoying the space we could call ours. The girls were down in the kitchen getting acquainted with the new view from their cage, and I always remember Simba, who was as big a character as we’ve ever had the privilege of sharing our life with, making us laugh so much lying very regally in front of the fire even that very first day, happily acclimatising to his new spot.

Five years ago, on Valentines Day in 2012, after a year of living the five of us, we brought home our first pet together, Grace, our little hamster. She was again one of the most wonderful personalities we’ve come across – she was 4 months old when we met her and had been recently rescued having spent all of her life until then in a little plastic box. She was much smaller than any other Syrian hamsters we’ve had, and had lost one ear, but if any of that should have dampened her love of life it certainly didn’t – Grace approached everything with so much enthusiasm, climbing to the top of bookcases in a heartbeat, rocketing on her much-too-big 12″ wheel with no effort, and was incredibly friendly and affectionate. 

The years have tumbled by and life has moved on in so many ways – we’ve begun and ended whole careers, got engaged in our little kitchen, come home as newlyweds, hosted family and friends, seen the blackbird couple come back every summer, lit the fire every winter and seen so many beloved pets come and go. It has all been such an adventure. 

Two years ago, we brought Ty and his brother Harvey home on the same day we moved in, and in fact named Ty in part for the Gaelic “Tigh” meaning “home” since he arrived on such an appropriate day. Sitting with him in our home this evening it is lovely to look back on so many memories.

Not just in our house, and our home wherever we come to make it in the future, but in all of our life, our story has been enhanced by all of the characters in it, including our pets. 

Thought I’d take such an opportune chance to share a couple of them – our beautiful Mr & Mrs rat couple who were a much-loved gift for our wedding and who stand in pride of place in our living room:

…and our wedding horseshoe, one of Charmer’s own, decorated by my very talented friend..

We don’t know where the future will take us and what lies around the corner. I love to celebrate our home-aversary even if one of these years it is our last in this house, as I know whenever we move on it will be all together and to somewhere just as loved and just a new chapter in our life together – as another of my favourite home pieces says, “What I love most about my home is who I share it with” – wherever it is. ❤

Just a few pictures of some very favourite moments here over the years.. 

Whether you are celebrating Valentines Day, light nights, Friday finally being here, anything else or nothing at all, hope you all have a really lovely weekend. X