Once I had a hamster called Hedgard. He was intelligent as hamsters go, which isn't very far. Previous members of his tribe had pulled stunts such as climbing onto the kitchen windowsill and falling out, which as the flat was on the fourth floor was quite likely not too good for poor Hannibal (the name of the hammy in question. All hammies begin with 'h', it's a tradition or an old charter or something). I do wonder whether the death wish often attributed to lemmings is due to a confusion between those sterling Scandibeasts and the humble hammy.
One Sunday night I came back from a weekend in the Cleene Hills where we'd gone up such routes as Ooh Me Accent's Slipping and You Have Got to Be Kidding Me. My girlfriend, Astra, had effortlessly soloed Stack On My Face but it was a bit beyond my capabilities. Now Astra had gone back to her flat in Acton and here I was alone just off the North End Road.
Hedgard was out of his cage. Eventually I found him inching his way up the wall of the living room, from crack to tiny crack. He executed a little traverse across to the bookshelves that had been the first thing I'd ever put up in the flat, many years before, and shinned his way up that.
Eventually he got onto the top most shelf and stood and beamed at me.
Dear Lord and little fishes. I had a free soloing hamster.