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Written by Claireクレア・ホワイトさんの日記

60代後半にさしかかったクレアさんは北部イングランド出身で以 前は図書館に勤務していました。約20年ほど前に視覚に障害があ らわれ、10年ほど前にまったく見えなくなりました。毎週2日通 う視覚障害者のデイセンターでは、クレアさんは不思議な人気者 です。ふんわりとした人柄のせいでみんながやすらいだ気 持ちになれるからだと思います。

子ども時代のペット 2014年6月7日

Childhood Pets - Claire 7th June 2014


When my little sister Nanette was about 6 years old, she had to go into hospital to have her tonsils removed. She was a very quiet, shy little girl who had never been away from her family before, so I believe she cried most of the time.

The day came when she was due to come back to us and my father decided to buy her a welcome home present. He loved animals and so did Nanette and therefore he bought two little hamsters, one was a pale golden colour and the other was a darker golden colour, they were named Whiskey and Soda. They were cheeky little animals, always up to mischief, and we children loved them. They gnawed through their wooden cage and escaped, they burrowed into the stuffing inside our old sofa, and finally one day they disappeared altogether. We three children were very upset and after 2 or 3 days we thought we would never see them again. Then, one night we went to bed (we 3 all slept in one big bedroom); as it grew dark my mother came up to get my brother. She said “I think we’ve got mice, I can hear scratching in the corner under the floorboards”. She didn’t like mice at all so she asked my brother Jimmy to go down and help her. They located the spot where the scratching seemed to be and my brother took up one of the floorboards. Immediately, up popped a dirty little face, followed by another, there were 2 very dirty, very hungry little animals. We never found out how they got under there.

My father was a miner and, at night, he worked in a pit, deep down under the North Sea. In the mornings, when he’d finished, he walked home over the countryside, passing his allotment. He often paused there to water the tomatoes or do a few little jobs. We never knew what he was going to bring home, and one morning he arrived with a dear little green frog, who became our pet and we called him Freddie. His home was an old tin bath on a rickety wooden table in our back yard. Freddie lived there happily and became quite tame. One day we heard a lot of noise coming from the yard and, on running down, we found that a blackbird had pecked off one of Freddie’s legs. Of course we were very upset but Freddie continued to live on the rock and carried on as before. I don’t quite remember how or where he went in the end.

At another time, my father arrived home in the early morning from the pit with a pretty green budgerigar which he had found flitting around on the allotment. It seemed very tame and hungry, so he was able to catch it and bring it back. It flew up onto the curtain rail and announced that it was “pretty Peter”. Peter had arrived and had come to stay; he became one of the family and lived for many years. He could recite nursery rhymes and say our names, all in a broad northern accent. When we moved to London, Peter came with us but sadly only survived for one more year. We don’t know how old he was, but he really had a good long life.

Every spring I also had a big jar of newts in the yard. I loved them, they were such fascinating little creatures; but eventually they all escaped and I suppose disappeared down the drains. There were of course also the goldfish which swam round and round in their circular bowl, not very lively but pretty to look at.

Later, in London, Nanette had two pet rabbits: Wilfred and Sally. Sally was a real lady, a pretty, honey coloured very dainty little thing with delicate manners. Wilfred had long fluffy ears and 2 big front teeth and he was very clumsy. He was ginger in colour with white splotches in odd places. He would hop through the garden door, onto our sofa and enjoyed sitting with us while Sally would linger outside, too shy to come in.

These were the last of out childhood pets but when I grew up I had 2 or 3 cats of my own, all with different characters; but that is another story.

子ども時代のペット 2014年6月7日

私の姉、ナネットが6歳だったとき、扁桃腺の手術で入院した。姉はとても静かで、内気な女の子で、それまで 家族と離れて夜を過ごしたことがなかった。だから姉は病院でずっと泣いていたのだと思う。

姉が退院することになったとき、父は「お帰りなさい」の歓迎の気持ちをこめてプレゼントを用意した。父は 動物好きで、姉もそうだった。だから父はハムスターを2匹買った。1匹はうすい黄金色で、もう一匹は濃い黄 金色だった。だから名前はウイスキーとソーダ。2匹ともいたずら好きでいつもなにかたくらんでいた。わたし たち3人兄弟は2匹が大好きだった。でもある日、木の柵を噛みくだいて逃げ出した。そして古いソファーを掘 って穴を開けてねぐらにした。そういういたずらをしているうちに、いつの日だったか、とうとうどこかへいってしまって、もどらなかった。