Monday, 21 March 2011

Philippe the Hedgehog

Hedgehog
Hans Hoffmann (1530–1591/92)


It is first thing in the morning
and I am using the photocopier
and talking to my friend, Pierre.
I can't remember how we got onto the subject
but he is telling me about his childhood pets

"...we had a hedgehog called Philippe for a while...
once you have got rid of the ticks and lice
they make super little pets.
He had a proper diet because we fed him on raw meat.
One day he was sitting on my mother's lap..."

"on her lap??"
I ask, amazed.

"Oh yes, he was a proper little house pet...
Anyway, my mother was wearing a Chinese dressing gown
and Philippe climbed up the long open sleeve.
And he got stuck!
He rolled himself into a ball because he was frightened
and the only way we could get him out
was to unpick all the stitches of the sleeve."


and Pierre, the serious archaeologist
who dedicates himself to reconstructing animal skeletons,
is laughing at the memory of himself as a small boy
untangling Philipe the hedgehog
from his mother's silk dressing gown
and I am laughing too
at the thought of the mad things
that mothers do to make their children happy.

It is a good way to start the day.

11 comments:

  1. I love hedgehogs. A lot of people keep them as pets and there are some funny videos on YouTube. They are so cute. They are imported as pets to North America and if I didn't have cats I might get one:)

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  2. Oh. my. God, Pierre's mother must have had nerves of steel. I'm clawing my arm at the mere thought of a rodent stuck in my sleeve.

    Our dachshund Ben once got his entire body caught in the sleeve of a ribbed turtleneck. No one was wearing it at the time, though.

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  3. How DID you get on the topic of pets?

    I know!
    You were doing that thing where you say your stripper name (which is the name of your childhood pet and the street you lived on).
    I'm PomPom Lloyd.

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  4. Philippe sounds much loved :-)

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  5. Ah! un petit hérisson dans la manche!
    Assuming that Philippe and Pierre are both French.

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  6. and brought a smile to brighten mine too :)

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  7. It has started my day with a smile too.

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  8. PPicturing the person and the environment this is hilarious.
    Not so much for his mom at the time, I guess.

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  9. The woman sounds very glamorous. If I had a Chinese dressing gown I wouldn't wear it near jam, let alone a hedgehog.

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  10. Thanks for sharing this story - I'm just smiling at the thought of a hedgehog named Philippe.

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  11. My brother had a pet hedgehog (great problems with fleas!). I don't think he ever got stuck in a sleeve though he did get stuck under a bookcase.

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