Dangerous Hamsters

Not related to work I know, but I read this story in the Guardian today which warns about dangers that exotic pets pose to children’s health.

About 11% of salmonella illnesses in children are thought to stem from contact with lizards, turtles and other reptiles, Pickering said. Hamsters also can carry this germ, which can cause severe diarrhoea, fever and stomach cramps.

Salmonella has also been found in baby chicks, and young children can get it by kissing or touching the animals and then putting their hands in their mouths.

Lizards, reptiles, turtles – ok, ok.. but.. but.. HAMSTERS are dangerous.

For some reason this saddens me.

jessebarker jessebarker at Flickrr

Of cars and kittens

I don’t drive. Not only do I not drive, I don’t actually have a driving license. My last driving lesson (14 years ago) ended in my driving instructor actually telling me she did not want to teach me anymore (2nd crash – in my defence it wasn’t serious – I only drove into the back of a stationary police car – noone was hurt!).

So  it’s probably no surprise that I have no interest in cars. Yesterday, I visited a woman who has an anxiety disorder. I go as regularly as I can and just keep an eye on how she is managing and in general it is one of those fairly low-key visits.

She has a car, and her car was broken. I offered to phone the RAC for her as she has a distrust and dislike of the telephone. I feel faintly embarrassed by the conversation I had – but I think the RAC man had a good old laugh.

An RAC roadside-assistance van in 2004.

Image via Wikipedia

OK, perhaps when I was asked what type of car it was, answering ‘Green’ might not have been the wisest answer – but I don’t know what car is what! I also tried ‘Green and smallish, I think it’s quite old’. At that point, I could hear him sniggering. Of course, when he asked what was wrong with it,  we entered an almost surreal level of conversation – as I wasn’t actually sure.

‘It won’t start’ I said.

‘Yes’ said the still-giggling RAC man ‘I understand that, but why?’

‘Because it doesn’t go – I don’t know’

I’m sure he was calling his mates over or had me on speaker phone in his call centre place!

‘Can you be a bit more specific, miss’ Grrrr. I wish I knew about cars. I  really hate conforming to gender stereotypes and I find ‘miss’ faintly patronising but I felt I wasn’t in a position to complain for want of causing more hilarity.

‘Not really, because I don’t know’.

Anyway, in the end, he agreed to come. I’ll pop in today to check the car was actually fixed.

If he’d asked me about ancient Greek philosophy or discourse theory, I’d have had a really good response to him – but cars.. not my forte.

image Mel @ flickr

Another visit yesterday with an almost comical slant. I was visiting a man with fairly advanced dementia and substantial physical health problems and his wife. There were three generations living in the same two bedroom flat, so there were a couple of children running in the corridor.

As I walked to the lounge, one of the kids shouted at me to ‘Watch out’. I looked down – and I had almost stood on  a tiny  kitten.

Luckily I managed to sidestep out of the way,  but this kitten was minute. I was told by the wife that it had been given to one of the children by someone in a park but it was much too small to have been away from its mother – still it was quite a sprightly thing. It was fascinated by my feet, which it constantly tried to nibble and was trying to climb into my bag (which I did close) throughout.

I had to be really careful when I left the house with a small kitten that would have fit easily into the palm of my hand scurrying around my feet. I had the constant ‘Must not tread on cat’ mantra running through my head. And that’s a thought I don’t often consider.