THIS IS A TRUE STORY, that happened about 14 years ago, to my late hamster Hammy.
Hammy was my best golden hamster. He lived in a large cracked old fishtank. He looked like a cartoon character.
He loved running. The standard hamster wheel was far too small for him. So I bought him a special rat wheel with a one-foot diameter. On this he could sprint at full-tilt.
All day long Hammy slept very deeply. When I dared introduce my hand near his nest, he would wake up furious, chattering and gnashing his teeth. Sometimes he even sprang up like a poisonous snake. Then he realized the hand was just mine, and he sniffed at it, and calmed down. Of course he was also hoping for titbits!
Every day at six o'clock he got up, washed his ears, did a wee, ate, drank and then jumped on the rat wheel and ran and ran and ran almost constantly till past six in the morning!
I worked out, he ran at least EIGHT MILES or TWELVE KILOMETRES per night! What a furry athlete!
Sometimes he got off the wheel and ran around it to see where he was!
One evening I let him out to ramble freely about the carpet. He loved this. He was a bit dur though, because when I put his wheel in the corner of the room he ran up to it, jumped on and started trotting again! This particular evening he decided to go exploring behind my bottom drawer. He was having a great time scurrying back there.
When I put him back in his nest, he packed up his bedding in his pouches, then scrabbled against the glass to say, "Let me out!" He ran behind the drawer and began preparing his new bed there.
I put him back in the aquarium, where he packed his pouches so full he looked like a golden football with eyes. "Let me out!" So I set him on back on the carpet and he sprinted to his new nest.
When Hammy's new nest had grown absolutely colossal, I realized, "Oh, he can't live here!" So: back to the fishtank.
He was absolutely furious! He scrabbled and scratched relentlessly at the glass, pouches full, ready to make his new nest even more enormous than it already was. (I'd actually put the nest back on his old bed, but Pandable wasn't too hot on such technicalities.) When he realized he was back in the tank for the evening he sprang on the wheel with great irritation and pinged at top speed for mile after mile. Every now and then he got off and seemed bemused: no drawer, no new nest anywhere to be found. I felt so sorry for him.
I was reminded of a saying:
The best-laid plans of mice and men go askew.
Which comes from a poem by Robbie Burns.
Perhaps Burns should have added, plans of mice and hamsters too!
It was Christmas eve in a war zone - I just about managed to rise this morning but shining is still a long way off. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I had my usual stress dream last night....
2 hours ago