I’VE been asked some strange questions over the years but “Would you have time to get the guinea pigs sexed while we’re on holiday?” probably takes the biscuit…

As revealed in the last instalment of Grandad At Large, my wife and I had been tasked with looking after Millie and Rosie while our little granddaughter went camping with her Mummy and Daddy.

Chloe, aged four, had duly announced that it would be Ganma’s job to give them lots of cuddles, while it would be up to me to clean out the poos.

Well, little did we know that there were further complications in store because, on the day before the piggies were due to arrive at our house, Chloe’s dad phoned to drop the bombshell about the visit to the “sex clinic”.

Without going into unnecessary detail, let’s just say that Millie and Rosie had been behaving in a particularly unladylike manner, and a gender check was thought to be wise.

“We’ve got them booked in to be sexed at the vet’s at 12.30 on Monday, but we’re not going to be around, so I was wondering if you could take them?” asked Chloe’s Daddy.

This was never in the Grandad’s job description. I’m a busy man and all kinds of questions went through my mind: How long does it take to sex a guinea pig? Are there likely to be any after-effects? What if one turned out to be a boy and the other a girl?

I shouldn’t have to even have to contemplate this kind of pressure at my age but what was I supposed to say, other than: “Yes, of course, I’ll take the guinea pigs to be sexed – I’ve got nothing better to do.”

Mercifully, I needn’t have worried because I got a phone call on Sunday to say there was no longer any need to take them to the vet’s because a home gender test had taken place and proved conclusive.

Apparently, if you stroke a male guinea pig’s tummy, its manhood, perfectly understandably, becomes more apparent.

Anyway, the result of all this is that it was Miles and Roly, rather than Millie and Rosie, who turned up at our house for their summer holidays on Sunday evening.

Chloe made a video-call as soon as she arrived at the campsite the following day, demanding that Ganma got down on all-fours to put her phone inside the hutch, so she could see that her beloved pets were OK.

Then she embarked on an interrogation to make sure I was on top of the job:

“Gandalf – have you given Millie and Rosie – I mean Miles and Roly – some nuggets?” Check!

“Have they had some cabbage and peppers?” Check!

“Have they had fresh water with some drops in?” Check!

“Have they had fresh straw?” Check!

“Have you cleaned out all their poos with a bucket and spade?” Check!

Then she added, in a way that seemed far too condescending for a four-year-old: “OK, Gandalf, now don’t forget to do that every day while I’m away. Oh, and remember to tell Ganma to give them lots of cuddles. I’ll call again tomorrow.”

At time of writing, Miles and Roly appear to have settled well into their new surroundings, without showing any signs of stress from their shocking sex-change revelations.

Me? I’m thinking of going into hibernation.


BEFORE Miles and Roly came into her life, Chloe’s favourite pet was “Baby Elephant” – a stuffed toy brought back in Daddy’s suitcase when he went to America.

I couldn’t help noticing that Baby Elephant was wearing a gold medal round his neck when Chloe paid a visit before her camping holiday.

“Ooh, why is Baby Elephant wearing a gold medal?” I asked.

“He won The Olympics for doing the biggest poo in the world,” she replied.