By ALLISON RUSHBY
When we get to Copenhagen, the owners of the apartment we will be renting for the week are lovely. We are shown around before they leave.
The kids are enraptured with their kids’ toy room. And with something else in the toy room as well – their hamster: Alexander.
Cue ominous music: dum, dum, duuuuum.
Yes, I’m sure you can see where this is going already. It’s a pity I didn’t.
The mother says she isn’t sure what to do about Alexander. She was thinking of dropping him off at a friend’s for the week, but had then realised our kids might like to keep him. ‘It’s very easy. He only needs a little water and food every so often and a pat now and again!’ she told me in her perfect English.
‘Of course!’ I stupidly reply back. ‘They’d love that!’
In hindsight, what I really should have said was, ‘Lady, get that filthy rodent the #$%* out of here’. But, of course, I did not, despite a warning bell somewhere in the deep, dark recesses of my mind that was dinging, ‘He’ll die! He’ll surely die!’. Anyway, I made the call and decided it would be fine to keep Alexander for the week because, of course, he wouldn’t really die, would he?
Oh, how you laugh at my expense.
As soon as the family left, of course our kids began ransacking the toy room from top to bottom.
Before long, they were involved in a complicated version of playing ‘school’ that involved lining up a variety of stuffed toys, and Alexander in his cage, in front of a blackboard.
Every so often, my husband and I would look in upstairs on the toy room and check that Alexander was okay (I was, of course, more concerned about Alexander than my own children).
One time, I even picked Alexander up to give him a pat, as I had been instructed to do, in case he was feeling unloved. Whereupon, he bit my finger and I resolved never to touch the little toad again. But he was obviously okay, so I left the kids to it.
In the toy room, the game of school continued.
Later that night, when I tucked Miss 8 into her bed, Alexander’s cage at her side, Mr 5 pointed out that
Alexander was asleep, too, in his food bowl.