Most families have cats and dogs as pets and we were no different. Except for a chameleon, we had no exotic pets, there was no need for them as they had ready access to us.
Mrs Handlebag and Mortimer were tortoises who belonged to my siblings. Mrs Handlebag was pregnant, all summer my brother and sister were fascinated, as the ‘babies’ were expected at any moment.
One day, Toni rushed into the house: “look mummy I have found a ping pong ball” and proceeded to bounce it. Splat! Not unduly perturbed, she ran out and brought back another. Again splat! She was stopped before Mrs Handlebag could lose any more of her eggs.
So that I wouldn’t be left out, my ayah had found a stick insect and tied a string to its leg. There I was, taking my little pet stick insect for summer walks.
We had an Alsatian dog called Petro and a feral cat that had adopted us. Our dog rescued her kittens from a bonfire which the gardener had made to burn some rubbish. Petro went into the stack and brought out her kittens one by one.