Wednesday, 28 December 2016


When I was - oh, I dunno - around ten I suppose, me and my brother had a pet hamster called (you'll never guess) Hammy.  The name was inevitable, both of us having grown up on TALES Of The RIVERBANK, one of the WATCH WITH MOTHER TV shows for kids.  Hammy had a cage which was sometimes kept in the kitchen, sometimes in the garden cellar.  We would watch in rapt fasci-nation as he raced 'round his wheel for what seemed an absolute age, presumably enjoying himself.  Now I realize it was probably out of frustration and because he was 'stir-crazy'.

One day, my brother announced that Hammy was dead, and with the morbid curiosity that most kids are heir to, we examined the corpse.  Poor Hammy.  We tenderly wrapped him up in a brown paper bag and gingerly laid him in the refuse bin in the back garden, then retired back to the living-room to mourn our departed pet.  But then I had a sudden brainwave. "Maybe he's only hibernating?" I spec-ulated, so we retrieved Hammy from the bin and laid him before the electric fire in an attempt to revive him.

Sure enough, after a while, Hammy came out of his state of suspended animation and sniffed the air.  What a narrow escape and no mistake.  I'm unsure as to  just how long Hammy was with us after his Lazarus impersonation, but one day I noticed he was missing from his cage in the cellar and a search of the confined space afforded no joy. Perhaps a week or so later, I found him dead in our watering can (in the cellar), and even today I cringe in horror at the thought of his despair as he waited for a rescue that never came.

I think this time we buried him in the garden instead of the bin, but at least there was absolutely no doubt he was actually dead. No consolation of course, but thankfully he was spared the awful fate of waking up as he was consigned to the grinding cogs of a bin lorry and meeting, perhaps, an even worse fate than the one which eventually claimed him.

Nearly 50 years later, I still think of Hammy on occasion, and find myself hoping he didn't suffer too much or for too long.  Any fellow Mellows out there ever have a childhood pet which they still fondly remember today? Resurrect them for a brief period by telling us all about them in the comments section.

Sunday, 11 December 2016


Do you remember, as a youngster, making your way home on a dark evening after a day out adventuring, and, as you caught sight of your house, glimpsing the amber glow of the standard lamp in your living-room, penetrating the curtains like a beacon to light your way home?  Do you recall the sudden surge of renewed energy that infused your weary limbs, egging you on as you realised you'd soon be warm and comfy in familiar surroundings?

So do I!  In fact, 33 years ago, after my family had moved to a new house in another neighbourhood, I'd sometimes pass my former domicile on dark nights and trying to recapture that feeling, as I hadn't lived long enough in our new residence to have re-created the experience.  I'd see the light emanating from my previous home and imagine for a moment that I still lived there. Then the moment would pass and I'd set course for my new abode some distance away, warmed and fortified by memories of earlier times.

Nowadays, I reminisce fondly about that magical experience whenever I pass one of my former homes on a dusky evening, and as I've said elsewhere before, I sometimes feel that I could wander up the path of any of my previous houses, put my key in the lock, and walk in to find everything just as it used to be.  You'll find that it doesn't matter how much you enjoy going out, holidaying abroad, or travelling the world - nothing compares to that sudden electric thrill of recognition on catching that first sight of home and hearth when you return.

Dulce Domum indeed.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...