“Do I look like the kind of person who would eat hamster food and then just chuck the wrapper on the floor?” My husband asked defiantly.
“Yes!” I shouted back. “That is exactly the kind of person you are!”
“I think you did it, and you’re trying to frame me so I think I have dementia.”
“Yeah!” I spat scornfully. “Because that’s the sort of ill-tasted banter I have time for – NOT! Look, I’m not mad, I just want to know... Do you think there’s any possibility that you might have used hamster chocolate buttons instead of human ones when you made your ice-cream yesterday?”
“No! Definitely not! Well... I don’t think so, anyway. I couldn’t have done, could I? Surely not... Did the ice-cream taste weird to you?”
“I’ll be honest, it was the first time I’d tried peanut butter, banana, soy milk and chocolate button ice-cream, and yes, the concoction did taste a little odd...”
Please tell me that I’m not the only to have ever had the above conversation...? No? Just me, then!
The 10th February marked six months in our first home. Half a year.
And we’ve only just discovered now that we might have a ghost.
The evidence is mounting up, and after watching The Haunting of Bly Manor on Netflix, I don’t feel particularly optimistic about our fate, to be honest. Never buy a house with beams – that’s my advice! (The first thing we saw when viewing our home for the first time was a ginormous spider scurrying down from its web-infested beam to take a good look at us. It’s a no from me!)
It all started just before Christmas. A bag of chocolate coins mysteriously disappeared between Sainsbury’s and our kitchen.
Now, I’m very meticulous when it comes to my chocolate, so I know I wouldn’t have left them at the shops. Besides, I distinctly recall seeing them winking mischievously at me from the depths of the bag on the way home.
By the time I'd unloaded the shopping, they had completely vanished. And believe me, it wouldn’t be worth my husband’s life if he’d dared to steal chocolate from an ovulating woman; a fact he is very aware of, hence the missing testicle.
Anyway, to cut a very long, bland story short: we never found the chocolate coins.
That in itself is heartbreaking and weird and not something I got over in a hurry, as I snacked on my substitute raw kale while watching This Morning.
Blaming a ghost was certainly not at the forefront of my mind, until...
Marzipan (our half Russian hamster, half dodgy democrat) was left on his own on Christmas Day, and when we returned, the heating was on full blast, and half of the house plants had died. I might be wrong, but I’m sure I saw Marzipan frantically ripping off a pair of Speedos and sunglasses as we came through the front door...
It all just seemed a bit odd; we’d 100% turned the heating off altogether when we left (our house is like a furnace at the best of times).
And then THIS happened...
We had a bag of hamster chocolate buttons on top of the table in the dining room. It was a new packet, and we’d only given one or two to the hamster.
One evening, I went to grab the bag, to find the packet lying in the middle of the floor... EMPTY.
“Josh...? Have you fed the hamster all of the treats?” I asked.
“No, why?” Came the confused reply.
We cast a suspicious eye over the cage. There was no way the hamster could have got out, climbed up the table, eaten several hundred chocolate buttons, chucked the wrapper to the floor, and then slunk back as if it had never happened.
There was just no way!
That’s when an appalling thought sliced through my veins.
"You put chocolate chips in that homemade banana ice-cream you made!” I cried, as sheer horror rose up inside me.
“Do I look like the kind of person who would eat hamster food and then just chuck the wrapper on the floor?”
And so the saga is ongoing. We genuinely have no idea what could have possibly occurred.
I mean, I don’t know what sort of ghost snaffles chocolate coins, turns people’s central heating on, and then raids the family pet’s treat stash, but this is apparently what we’re dealing with here.
Speaking of hamsters, I’m afraid I do have some bad news.
Shortly after Christmas – after the mysterious central heating drama, and just before the hamster chocolate button fiasco – Marzipan sadly passed away.
If the Guinness World Book of Records had a section for feisty, sassy hamsters, Marzipan would have earned himself a double page spread. He well and truly wore the pants in our house. He used to attack the dog – poor Rolo was petrified of him (then again, weren’t we all?). We used to have to pick him up with a pint glass, because call us old fashioned, but we do quite enjoy having limbs. He once bit through a ski glove. He could work an iPhone (and no, I’m not joking – he genuinely could).
I actually made a tribute video full of pictures of him with the James Bond theme tune in the background.
We weren’t a hamster-less couple for long. (Some people our age would be looking to start a family – we’re just here cruising along collecting cacti and rodents.)
Marmite is our newest hamster friend.
I have a reserved judgement on her at the moment, to be honest. When it comes to hamsters, we’ve had complete polar opposites: we had Sundae, who was more like an old, faithful Retriever – quite the grandfather figure - and we’ve had Marzipan, who was more like Adolf Hitler.
Marmite seems to be sitting somewhere in the middle. She appears to be quite docile, but I’ve heard some odd sounds coming from that cage, and it resonated worryingly with her predecessor.
She spends most of her time inside a coconut (don’t ask), and only ever really ventures out to snatch a spinach leaf every now and again.
Perhaps it was the ghost of Marzipan who stole Marmite’s treats. Maybe it was the living Marzipan who robbed the chocolate coins! But then again, he wasn’t necessarily greedy; he was just fond of the taste of flesh.
“What would you do if lightening struck and you just saw the outline of Marzipan by the patio doors, eating chocolate coins in slow motion?” My husband said.
My blood ran cold at the mere thought.
Apologies, this was supposed to be an uplifting post to celebrate 6 months in our very own home, detailing endless cute anecdotes (of which there have been none, except the fact that we ate about 95 cheese boards a day throughout December, while watching The Chronicles of Narnia). I seem to have gone off on a tangent about hamster-themed paranormal activity.
In other, more ‘normal’ news (because you’re probably wondering how and why you’ve ended up in a bizarre, trippy parallel universe filled with Russian hamsters and chocolate coins), I have mastered cooking.
... Well, what I mean by that is that I no longer eat Shreddies for three meals a day.
As you may have seen on my homepage, I am a strict vegetarian for 11 months out of the year. UP THE PLANT POWER! (I stray away from this passion in December because, well, pigs in blankets).
Some of my newly invented meatless meals include:
* Chilli NON carne
* Spaghetti bologNAYaise
I know, I know. I laughed too. For hours.
P.S: The cover photo is my new home-office, and beholds no relevance whatsoever to this article - I just thought it looked a bit posh.
P.P.S: Here's that video of Marzipan I promised you - SOUND ON.
Cara Jasmine Bradley ©