cherished blogfest badgeGuinea pigs came into my world on 26th July 2007. A red-letter day indeed. It was probably the first day of the rest of my life.

At first I resisted making them my post for the Cherished BlogFest 2017. Then as always, I realised that resistance was futile. So here’s my entry for the blogfest. This event only lasts this weekend. Pop over to the master sign-up list and visit as many as you can!

Fred and George, guinea pigs extraordinaire

Whenever I think of my most cherished things, my first guinea pigs, Fred and George, spring into mind.

They were brothers, they taught me most of what I know, and they were the most perfect gentlemen.  Fred and George held equal place in my heart. George, with all the problems he had with malformed teeth, caused me so much anxiety. There were travels to specialists, a course about how to look after guinea pig teeth, and tending neck abscesses—all manner of other things.  He was the one who got my complete attention over many months at a time. Fred was stoical, loyal, and had his eye on me to make sure I did things right.

Fred and George 2008


I was so focused on them, I decided I had to get two more to divide my attention. Hugo and Victor came into my heart. At that point I discovered that opening your heart wider makes no difference to the amount of love you devote to someone.  Every person receives total love, even if time has to be divided up into unequal amounts.

Then came the books

It’s the story of my life: these guinea pigs captured my imagination, and I started writing stories about them.  The stories turned into a trilogy of books, and the trilogy turned in a series, that now has an end in sight – at number 10. Nearly all the guinea pigs whose short lives have passed through my heart since Fred and George, feature in them to a greater or lesser extent. Book 4 stars Hugo, Book 5, Humphrey, Book 6, Victor. Kevin, Colman, Dylan and Dougall were involved in more minor roles.

Princelings covers 1 to 8

Dylan and Dougall – the hairy guinea pigs

It wasn’t until I wrote book 8, due out in January, that I realised Dylan and Dougall had taken nearly as large a part in my life as Fred and George. Like Fred and George, they came to me as babies.  Dylan was always into everything.  The very first photo of him shows ‘uncle’ Victor looking proud in the middle, Dougall sitting shyly beside him, and Dylan around the back, already looking for mischief.  I wrote Christmas stories about them, setting them up in my favourite holiday destination, where I’d taken Fred, George, Victor and Hugo. Alas, I was never able to take Dylan and Dougall, although I’m sure they’d have loved it.

Dylan Victor and Dougall 6 weeks

But Book 8, the Princelings of the North, sees them rescuing Kevin from a place where his uncle Colman has exiled him, and helping Kevin to travel the length of the Realms (roughly equivalent to a wild and people-less Britain) to reclaim his inheritance.  Never was a book easier to write – Dylan is such a strong character.  The only question in my mind was how to write Dougall, who was deaf.  Eventually I decided it was an unnecessary complication to the story.

Dylan Victor and Dougall one year on

So for my Cherished blogfest post, I’d like to praise all my guinea pigs, but especially Fred and George, and Dylan and Dougall – and the long-suffering and very patient Victor.

I love you all.

Inktober day 13: Prompt ‘teeming’

And for #inktober, I’m adjusting one of my book 8 illustrations to show Dylan, Dougall and Kevin, trudging over Rannoch Moor in the teeming rain on their journey south. See all my efforts to learn how to draw on my iPad on Twitter or my Pinterest page.

Three cavies struggle through wind and rain





CHERISHED Blogfest | Jemima’s guinea pigs

20 thoughts on “CHERISHED Blogfest | Jemima’s guinea pigs

  • 13 October, 2017 at 7:52 am

    Clearly you have guinea pig mania. I’ve never known anyone dedicate their work to an animal, Oooh, forget I said that, Black Beauty, Tarka the Otter, Oscar the cat. Clearly you’re in good company.
    xxx Gigantic Hugs xxx

  • 13 October, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Jemima, I love your little fur babies. They are all adorable. The fact that you turned your guinea pig love into a series of books is amazing. Good for you and good luck with your remaining books.

    Thanks for your post and for participating in the Cherished Blogfest. I hope you enjoy the stories that come from this event.

  • 13 October, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    What a lovely tribute to all your guinea pigs. They occupy your heart and you always have room for more. Clever and charming to write them into books. I love them right along with you!

    • 15 October, 2017 at 12:14 pm

      Thanks, Noelle. I’m glad I started writing those stories – Fred, George, Victor, Hugo, Humphrey, Dylan and Dougall are exactly themselves. Shame I had to go and make Colman and Kevin into baddies. 🙁

  • 13 October, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    The furry guys seem like the perfect topic for a post on what’s cherished! I love the little furry baby Dougall and Dylan!

  • 13 October, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    This is adorable. Fred and George are so darn cute! I would never have thought of malformed teeth in guinea pigs…or in any animal, for that matter. I love that Fred kept an eye on you. This was a most wonderful read, Jemima.

    • 15 October, 2017 at 12:18 pm

      I suspect there is the possibility of poorly aligned teeth in any animal, certainly I know of horse dentists. The problem is misalignment in the jaws so that the top ones don’t wear down the bottom ones, and vice versa – and for animals where the teeth are constantly growing, it can mean disaster. It’s surprisingly common in guinea pigs for some reason, possibly due to all the inbreeding when people get two females who aren’t from bad petstores, then don’t take the male babies away early enough.

      • 15 October, 2017 at 2:04 pm

        Oh, dear. I had no idea. Thanks for the explanation, Jemima.

  • 14 October, 2017 at 8:52 am

    Your fur babies are adorable! I’m glad they’ve made it into your stories and thus became immortal. Thanks for sharing.

    • 15 October, 2017 at 12:19 pm

      I’m really glad I made them immortal, too. Whenever I miss them I can go read their books.

  • 15 October, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    Those guinea pigs are adorable! I especially love the long-haired ones and how they have to peep out from behind the hair covering their eyes. I can see why you cherish your fur babies.

  • 15 October, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    They are really adorable. No doubt you cherish them so much. Thank you for participating in the Cherished Blogfest.

  • 16 October, 2017 at 4:04 am

    Thanks for taking such good care of them!

  • 17 October, 2017 at 5:29 am

    What a beautiful post! Loved how you took so much care and showered the little furry babies with so much love! They’ll always be immortal, for sure!

  • 19 October, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    Thank you for sharing your Guinea Pigs and your stories with us. Your passion for your Guinea Pigs is very inspiring! #CBF17

  • 19 October, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    Clearly guinea pig love radiates through you and your writing. What a fun thing to cherish. Made me smile.

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