Except that it isn't really, of course. Not his actual home. He lives in the cage bequeathed to him by the late and much lamented Gary. Gary was our first hamster: a Christmas gift requested by The (Not So) Small One and chosen with care by her loving aunt. As handsome a Ginger as you'd find anywhere. Gary, I mean, not the aunt, who, by coincidence, is also ginger and - you know what? today feels like a ramblin' kind of a day. Let's get back to the point. Meet Craig.
Craig is hamster number two. Now, where Gary was quiet, Craig is loud, where Gary was (and there's no gentle way to say this) lazy, Craig never stops. Who would have thought it? hamsters aren't all the same! Craig is a man's man. And that has turned out to be a good thing here, in a house run by women. The only man left has been glad of a bit of male bonding now that The Tall One is out of town. How do you bond with a hamster? Well, it's not, as my Grandma might have said, for want of trying.
They spend a lot of time together in the evenings: sometimes in their study, where one works on his computer and one works on breaking through his bars; and sometimes in front of the television, when one carries the other, in his cage, upstairs and sets him in front of Great British Sewing Bee, or whatever else the girls are enjoying. On special occasions Craig chews more frantically even than usual at the latch of his cage and we all agree that he is asking to play in his castle.
Ah, the castle. I bought it as a kind of joke Christmas present - you know, when you're looking for extras and you run out of inspiration and end up paying too much money for too few pieces of cardboard? - but, it has turned out to be fun. Putting it together kept everyone occupied for an evening. Or two. And now the entertainment comes from - well. catching Craig. He climbs up and down, then he breaks free, then we catch him, castle him again, it goes on until one side or the other gets fed up. Sometimes Craig tires first and he climbs back into his cage entirely of his own free will. Sometimes girl power wins out and we run downstairs for an apple to bribe them with. And when that happens, then the castle gets tucked behind the sofa til next time.
It's a small thing, but it's been worth a post and a page to get the pictures of Craig off the phone and into print. he's fast, very hard to photograph, but that might be about to change. Ever heard of a hamster lead? Oh, yes, there was more than one hamster related gift this Christmas...