“You’re Gonna’ need a Bigger Boat Skip!!”
A few weeks back KDKH asked if l had any tales with Guinea Pigs or Tropical Fish, l produced a tale on the latter, but have had a lot going on since then, and this is a long tale and that requires me to sit for longer periods of time and my back and shoulder start to make it hard for me to sit down for too long, so my appologies for this delay.
In 2007, l no longer kept animals of my own in so far as exotics, l simply had my dogs and cats at home and was at that point a full time exotic brokerage working with a landline, mobile phone and a 600 page website on dial up. But l did have a very extensive client base, who were my life line to an income. This enatailed most days receiving calls from sellers and those from buyers with desires. In the middle was my vetting system. On the outside of all of this was when clients occasionally rang up and said they needed assistance with this, or that, or this and that, so the line was always busy.
This tale is about the order of rodentia [rodents] and the family of caviidae commmonly known as ‘cavy’. .. guinea pigs. It is also broken up into 2 parts due to the reason above, but the second part will be out later.
Normal ‘pet’ guinea pigs
I received a call one day from one of my new to the books clients requesting assistance with a ‘catch up of livestock’ readying for sale to a game park in the south of England. My seller was based in Lincolnshire. The call quite innocently went something like this ..
“Is that Rory?”
“Yes it is?”
“Hello it’s Gordon, l joined your business about two months ago. I have some wild cavy that need rounding up please, and l have been told that you could do this for me for a fee, is this right?”
“Sure, that’s a service l offer, can you give me a few more details?”
“Err, yes, l run a small holding, not open to the public, but l breed some exotic livestocks here, and l sell them, l have used you before for some Mara, you may recall?”
Well l did have a vague recollection admittedly when he mentioned his location, but when my driver had turned up, they were met in his driveway with the animals in transporters so they never saw the actual holding’. I had also gone through the database and pulled his file which was in need of completing in so far as livestock species kept and bred.
“Yes l recall, we collected 6 mara from you about three months ago, beautiful animals, very tame l seem to recall.”
“Yes l work quite closely with my animals here, so they are used to interaction.”
“So tell me, you have some wild cavy that need collecting?”
“Sort of, l need to have some help rounding them up, before l can let them go though.”
Agouti [natural coloured wild cavy – although sometimes they were slightly more steely in their colour]
“Rounding them up? Did you not say they were ‘wild cavy?’
“Yes that’s right, wild cavy.”
“Why do you need help rounding them up? How many are you looking to sell?”
“I am selling 4, they run loose here, l keep them in a large pen, but they are proving tricky to capture due to the break in the fence.”
“Okay, so, the enclosure has a broken fence then, and you want help rounding up 4 loose wild cavies?”
“Yes, that’s right, l have about 9, and l wish to sell 4.”
“You have 9 wild cavies and you wish to sell 4 and these are wild cavies?? Can you not perhaps net them, or wait for them to go back into their sleeping quarters?”
“No, these are being difficult, they refuse to go back in!”
“You need help with the round up and capture of 4 wild cavies, you don’t mean mara do you?”
“No, l know the difference between wild cavies and mara, these are wild cavies! They are not easy to capture, plus with the fence being broken they have become a little more on the wild side, because l am unable to work with them, and they are now in the small copse behind the enclosures.”
For those not in the know or confused by this, the ‘wild cavy’ at that time was becoming quite popular in the UK with guinea pig breeders who wanted a different type of ‘pig’. The wild cavies were slightly smaller, sleeker and basically different. They were a blue agouti steel colour, and quite fast, and they could bite, however they were the size of a female domesticated guinea pig, so l was somewhat confused as to why Gordon needed help capturing four?
“It will be good for you to come and visit my small holding no? Then l can fill out the form of what l keep.”
I had a gut feeling that something wasn’t right, but Gordon wasn’t saying anything untoward and when l pressed him further for what species he bred he kept simply saying ‘come, come’ or we’ can discuss this with you here.’
So l agreed, it would be good to have a day out, all l would need do is get hold of a driver.
The only driver l could get hold of was a friend called Lionel. Twenty three and living with his parents, passionate and enthusiastic about animals, but a little on the wild side himself if honest and a huge Steve Irwin fan – he even started talking like him, which was just plain odd. On the day in question Lionel turned up at my door and upon opening …
“What the fuck are you wearing Lionel?”
“Alright Skip! What? This is an adventure right, that’s what you said “It’d be fun, and adventure – a day out! It’s also in honour of Steve!”
Lionel was stood before me in khaki camouflaged jungle shorts and shirt, wide brimmed belt and stetson hat and cowboy boots with crocodile patterned sunglasses on his head and looked like a boy scout merged with a cowboy and it was just odd, especially as he was the driver and didn’t look like he could even walk properly in the boots! He always called me Skip l l never knew why and he never told me!
“You’re staring Skip!”
“Lionel, l am just at a complete and utter loss for words right now. Steve never wore a stetson and polished cowboy boots!
“Oh no, l don’t use Lionel anymore, only mum does, l am LC!”
“LC? What’s the C for?”
“Charlie, it’s my middle name, so as l don’t like Lionel, l am compromising with mum and calling myself LC, what do you think?”
“Well, l didn’t know that about you, but it seems quite appropriate because looking at you now, you look a right Charlie to me!”
“Exactly, that’s what l say to mum, dad agrees with you funnily enough, he called me a right Charlie this morning before l left!”
Gordon lived about a couple of hours away, so it wasn’t that bad a journey, if you didn’t mind listening to Lionel’s, oops sorry my bad, LC’s constantly bemoaning of life at home. However he did have a sense of humour when he allowed himself to be just him, and he was despite everything quite knowledgeable on the species he kept. He was a big guinea pig fan as well, and was quite confused by the ‘four wild cavies’ story as indeed was l.
“Well maybe he is hurt, or by himself, or tired, or can’t be bothered or lonely, or wants to meet you, or, or, or ..” LC had a good heart but the ors still went on for most of the journey until we arrived at Gordons at about half ten that morning.
I had not met Gordon before that day, but he came out of his house and greeted us before we had even opened the car doors. He was quite tall, perhaps 6’6″ which is tall in comparison to me, as l am only 5’9″ and felt it beside him.
“Thanks for coming Rory, l really appreciate it, do you want to get started or do you want maybe a drink or a bio trip first?” He eagerly asked.
He’s keen l was thinking to myself and at that point, l somehow knew that we would NOT be looking for wild cavies!
“Well maybe you could show us the enclosure Gordon then we can have a drink and a trip to the loo?”
“Yeah sure, by the way, who is that chap?” Gordon asked looking at Lionel LC Charlie.
“He was my driver and helping hand.”
“Has he got a change of clothing, like maybe sensible boots?”
“He thinks he is Steve Irwin, he’ll manage he is adaptable.”
“Okay, can he run in those?”
“Why does he need to run?”
“Well just in case, you know, just curious is all.”
We walked around to the back of the house and there were quite a few sizable enclosures for all sorts of species, and l was taken aback at some of the species. But we walked up to the ‘wild cavy’ enclosure and l stopped.
“This is the enclosure for your wild cavies, all 9 of them? Really, this is huge!”
It measured about 20′ x 40 feet, and had a huge murky looking waterhole in the middle of it, there was all sorts of tree stumps and bits and bots of an environment in there and already l felt that strange sensation tickling down my back!!
“This is for 9 wild cavies Gordon?”
Gordon did one of those ‘ha ha’ movements with his hands.
LC was at the back of the enclosure and looking at the copse behind him, “I think l saw something move in that bush Skip, l am going to do some exploring!” Then ran off into the shrubbery like David Bellamy, making a mixture of vocalisations to boot! “LC hang on!!” I yelled after him, but he was gone.
“Gordon what was this enclosure for, really??”
“Well you see, it’s like this Rory, if l had told you, you might not have come, but ……..”
Before Gordon could finish, LC came running at top speed out of the bushes, losing a cowboy boot en route yelling “You’re gonna need a bigger boat Skip!!”
Part 2 Later!