As a young child, I loved animals and still do.
The sixties was a special time for all things pet. An early memory is of a Welsh piglet on a farm holiday.
It was probably destined for the English breakfast plate, but to me Linda the piglet was adorable.
I wanted to take it home, but my parents said nay.
This was followed by a puppy on Dingle Bay beach. The same end story.
And then my best pal’s prized tortoise.
I cannot recall the name but I do remember the mottled shell and the head would pop out here and there to gobble a dandelion or two in the garden.
They were nearly as good as Spirograph, until the great hibernation that is.
Tortoises were in vogue that year and I wanted one of those too.
This was before my newt phase. We found some in a pond one summer morning and I was transfixed.
What fascinating creatures to a child – lizard-like and aquatic.
I thought so much of them that I gave one as a birthday present to my friend.
I’m not sure it was met by parental approval and was probably returned alla pond!
I also enclosed a booklet I had written specially on how best to look after said beast. I would love to see that now!
After this phase, came the ‘goldfish from fairs’ experience.
I became quite good at hooking the bobbing ducks and walked away with several goldfish in their inflated watery home.
My mother must have despaired as yet more creatures entered the house.
I remember calling them Sunny, Shady and Shiny although, sadly, none survived the week.
Our beloved family dog must have observed all of this with an interested eye.
A lovely boy, our spaniel pup, who once hopped through a car window - to our horror - to run the moors.
Fortunately we managed to get him back when we found him cornered by a ram.
Then came the pony phase. Man, I wanted a pony. I remember plucking up the courage to ask my mum whose brisk reply was, ‘Agh! We can’t keep a pony in the back garden love!’
That saw paid to that ambition.