Toby Young Toby Young

Status Anxiety | 18 February 2012

Roxy’s successor

Roxy’s successor

As I write this, Roxy, my children’s pet hamster, is spinning happily in her wheel, with nary a care in the world. Unfortunately, it’s not the same Roxy who went missing four weeks ago. That hamster still hasn’t materialised after I foolishly left her cage door open one night. This is Roxy Mark II, no doubt the first of many replacements over the coming year — all named ‘Roxy’ at my children’s insistence.

Caroline and I debated whether to get another hamster after the trauma caused by the first one’s disappearance. ‘I feel like I’ve lost a sister,’ said Sasha, my eight-year-old daughter. But the clincher was the cost of the cage — £65 smackeroos! The thought of wasting all that money was too much to bear.

So last Saturday we returned to the pet shop en famille to buy a second hamster. Caroline refused point-blank to go in on the grounds that the owner might recognise her. Apparently, on her previous visit he’d lectured her for half an hour on the dos and don’ts of hamster ownership. He was particularly emphatic about not letting Roxy escape, given how low her survival prospects would be. Caroline was convinced that if she tried to buy a second hamster she’d be subjected to a forensic cross-examination about the fate of the first. In all likelihood, Mr Sanctimonious would refuse to sell her another one.

We came up with a plan which was that she’d pull up outside in our VW Transporter, drop me off, then park 100 yards up the street. If we were quick about it, the man in the pet shop wouldn’t spot her. Unfortunately, there was a flaw in this otherwise perfect scheme: the children. All four of them insisted on coming into the shop with me.

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