Lessons from a Gerbil

Lesson No 1geography-fieldwork-photos-139

I am not an animal lover. And I’ve always maintained that a husband and two children are enough living creatures to look after in my life. This has been my standpoint for many years. I made that clear. I thought.

I didn’t reckon with my son. He loves animals. For eleven years I ignored his innermost desires. Then I agreed to goldfish. So six months ago Chunky and Boxer moved in. First Chunky died, then Boxer. They were replaced by Shadow and Tiger. Tiger lasted a few weeks before he decided to leave for the Happy Hunting Grounds, followed shortly afterwards by Shadow. We now have four goldfish buried in our back garden.  It’s been a traumatic few months. The death of goldfish no 1 left me pretty untouched. But by the time we said good-bye to No 3, I, too felt the loss.

Last Friday was my son’s birthday. We now have two new tenants. Kevin, a black gerbil and Stuart his light grey friend. Can’t say I love them yet. And indeed I might never do. As I was lying in bed last night I thought of these gerbils in my son’s room and that if they ever managed to escape they’d probably eat their way through all our clothes, towels and sheets. My only consolation: my son’s happiness. He kept repeating to his dad his delighted amazement “I can’t believe I own two proper animals”. I was of course touched and  secretly I am preparing myself for a change of attitude towards Kevin and Stuart. Although I can’t yet admit to it fully out loud.

Lesson No 2

Keen followers of Peirene might have noticed that we are changing our business strategy and our approach to selling the books. Via the subscription model. If you like Peirene books, then please subscribe – as if we were a magazine. For £25 you will receive three books of world-class literature in excellent, beautiful translations directly delivered to your door plus 40% discount for you and a guest at all the Peirene events. Each book you can read in an evening. Three inspiring evenings for £25 only. I don’t think you’ll find a cheaper option. But of course I am aware, what I am asking readers to do is to change the way they think about book buying. I assume for many it’s a change on the same scale as allowing pets into the house.

“You needed eleven and a half years for that change to set in.” Peirene points out matter-of-factly.

“Exactly, there is hope.  I am scared of any animals you care to mention – dogs, horses, cows. If I can invite gerbils into my house surely others will welcome three beautiful books bought through subscription. “

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