Monthly Archives: March 2009

On the road to a tamed hamster

Well despite officially being night time for hamsters, Tiggy was quite active this afternoon and we thought we should take the opportunity presented to us in encouraging her out of her out of the tubing. Fortunately we’d come across some good advice that was not to give hamsters places to hide away until they’re trained. A thousand thank yous to the Hamster Central website for giving us the confidence to reconfigure the cage to a much more basic state. It was out with the house, out with the tubes and out with the log – for now – until she’s trained.

This still leaves the hamster in a far from austere cage, as there are still two levels, the wheel, chews and so on. The massive benefit is that Tiggy will now be accessible wherever she chooses to make her nest, which will in turn allow us to interact with her regularly and tame her as the days progress.

As it transpired it required some amount of contact with her to move her out of her cage while we modified it and then back in again. Fortunately we’re well prepared for such manouveurs as we have a hamster fort and a hamster enclosure fence which are ideal to place a hamster in while working on the cage. This interaction worked to our advantage as although Tiggy remained nervous, as we encouraged her in and out of her various environments she began to let us stroke her and even – briefly – hold her to place her back in her cage.

We’re certainly not there yet, however the absence of nips from the ham is a sign that if not entirely at ease she doesn’t regard us as predators either. This encounter has tired us all out, as we’ve retired to the couch while Tiggy, after a spot of running on the wheel – the first time we’ve seen her on it in days – has retired to the shady area under the first floor.

The road to training a hamster may be long but I feel there’s been a confidence boost all round and we’re now in good stead towards the goal of a happy and tamed ham.

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Tiggy the Troublesome

We bought Tiggy, our new hamster, a giant cage, thinking that as a young ham she would be running about all over the place and getting into all kinds of scrapes and fixes. She has two levels, a wheel, a log with holes in it and a length of tube that takes her outside her cage and in again. She’s a very well provided-for hamster.

To begin with, she set up camp in one corner of the base level, which was okay  because we could at least see her, even though she wasn’t very interactive. Dan and I have literally read every website and book on baby hamster taming we can get our hands on this week to figure out how to get our silver-haired little monkey beast not to flee us in fear – all to no avail.

Eventually, she moved herself into a blue plastic house that came with the cage. This made the situation even worse, because she then wouldn’t come out during our waking hours. We had some success on Thursday, when we moved her house (with her in it) to the base level, then took off the upper level and the cage itself and waited for her to emerge. We put fencing around the base so she couldn’t high-tail it out of Dodge when our backs were turned. We managed to get her out of the house and she did a bit of scuttling about to her water bottle and sat on the top of the base a couple of times thinking about whether to venture into the new lands below.

Then we had a bright idea. We removed the house. She has plenty of darkened space under the mezzanine level, a log and the corners to hide in, but at least we’d be able to keep an eye on her. What actually happened was that she moved wholesale into her tubing. Can’t lure her out, can’t clean her out and can’t handle her to tame her. Big fat fail.

It’s hamster night time now, so we’ll have to wait til later to see what can be done.

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Nowhere Boy brings the 1950s to Pinner

Filming of Nowhere Boy in progress
Filming of Nowhere Boy in progress

This morning the High Street of Pinner was intermittently closed off for filming around the Queen’s Head pub. Normally filming is rather anonymous but on this occasion the informative signage around the area declared this was for a film called Nowhere Boy. A quick search of IMDB revealed this to be a film about the childhood of John Lennon.

IMDB links to a Digitalspy article from last Wednesday announcing filming to have begun, however although filming locations at Ealing Studios, Blackpool and, naturally, Liverpool, no mention is given to Pinner, but it was here they were this very morning. Continue reading

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Tiggy arrives in Dara Cottage

Dara Cottage today welcomes a new member of the family. Continuing the tradition of having a hamster in residence, we’re now joined by a female Syrian hamster we’ve named Antigone, or Tiggy for short. To celebrate Tiggy is enjoying the ample surrounds of a brand new cage. Here’s the very first photo of her:

The first photo of Tiggy, our new hamster
The first photo of Tiggy, our new hamster

More photos will follow in due course but for the next few days Tiggy will be getting used to her new surrounds. We’ve long become used to the scurrying and industrious sounds of a hamster in the house and we’re pleased to welcome them back today – and in such an adorable package too!

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2001: A Westfield Odyssey

The mosaic of building works and confused signposts that have  formed large parts of Shepherd’s Bush’s  landscape for the last few years have largely gone to reveal the Westfield shopping centre, finished in October, which is served by four Tube stations and the new Overground station (two minutes’ walk away).

Westfield
Westfield

Westfield is yet another shopping centre and yet it isn’t.

It’s true that if you were wanting to visit every shop there, they’d have to add a hotel (there’s a cinema and a public library coming later in the year) – the place is huge. There are touch-screen maps at every corner to help you find what you’re looking for, clusters of seats (including egg chairs) dotted here and there to relieve tiredness and small children can be pushed around in one- or two-seater cars. The size is actually a good thing – it’d have to be a very busy day for Westfield to feel crowded.

Continue reading

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Britons and sun: slightly sad?

It’s arguably the first day of spring (although some might take the stance that the onset of BST later thisstupidsummer month better signals the change of seasons). Digging and planting of the vegetable patch can begin. It was even fittingly mild and sunny today, in defiance of the weather forecast.

What I find hilarious is that, at the meerest hint of sun, the British go slightly insane as they rush to take advantage of the miracle of warmth. Had we gone to Green park, no doubt there would have been a few people in the deckchairs in hats and overcoats eating strawberries.

It wasn’t particularly warm last summer, as some of you may recall. On the days that were, the hordes took to the parks in skimpy outfits to frolic with frisbies and partake of picnics and Pimm’s. Fair enough, in August.

We went shopping today and found that, despite it only being 10 degrees or so, the outdoor tables of all the cafes in Harrow were full and there was something of a continental atmosphere. Has nobody heard of global warming? It’s not like we won’t get actual, proper sun sometime later this year. Why sit out in the cold for the sake of making it seem like spring or summer? You’re sitting out there in winter coats, people!

I just think it’s a little silly. We sat inside.

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Wendover and the top of the Chilterns

Thatched houses in Wendover
Thatched houses in Wendover
Wendover pub
Wendover pub

If you go down to the woods today you’re in for a big surprise, for the walking map has led you so far astray you wouldn’t believe your eyes. This is what we found when we embarked upon what should have been a relatively straightforward walk up to Coombe Hill, the highest point in the Chilterns and a fine view point. Our starting point was Wendover, a charming, picturesque town a few miles south of Aylesbury. The town contains everything we might have hoped for: thatched houses, a chocolate shop, an aviation gallery, bookshop, antiques shop, a fine clutch of hostelries and a canal.

Continue reading

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