I mentioned the terrific scenes in To Play the King in which Francis Urquhart talks to the viewers whilst striding through the Corridors of Power. I quoted FU as saying "'Is the Prime Minister aware' - very frightening - like being mugged by a hamster."
At the back of my mind, I had a feeling it might have actually been 'a guinea pig' rather than a hamster and on checking the DVD just now, right enough it was the slightly larger species of rodent mentioned in the phrase. Actually, there were also some other cracking phrases included in FU's scornful description of the opposition leader egged on by the monarch - 'Yes, it's all very well tormenting the intellectually challenged' and 'dismal egalitarianism running rampant with the Royal seal of approval' being just a couple of examples.
Anyway, although my memory was faulty, it wasn't a case of not knowing my hamsters from my guinea pigs, as the latter is one of the few types of rodent we haven't had as pets in our home. We started off with hamsters and had a series of them - one cuter than the other. Here's the last one, Rocky (think we'd just seen the Rocky Horror Show at the time and particularly enjoyed it just before we got him).
He was a very sweet little fellow and very friendly and even-tempered.
We ( I say 'we', because my daughter Suzanne is the person whom they've belonged to ) also had some gerbils who used to love taking chunks out of plant leaves.
After we lost Rocky, Suzanne decided to get a rodent with a longer life span and she got a chinchilla (often confused with a chiuaua), Freddie, who was the most darling pet imagineable.
He was incredibly cuddly and friendly and I could sit with him on my knee, and let him run around the flat - and he was very amenable to having his photo taken wearing hats. Sadly, he became sick and we lost him before he was three.
We've now got Kylie, who's a bit mad and unfortunately we can't let her have the run of the place. Any time she has got loose she has dived straight behind the wall unit in the den and it has taken a great deal of sweat and tears (for all concerned) to retrieve her. Kylie eats like crazy, only seems to beg for treats from me, and whenever she hears one of the alarm clocks go off, she darts for the top of her 4-tier cage with a quizzical look on her face.