There’s a laptop for sale at our local Maplin shop for £120. I don’t know the spec of it, but if it can get online and comes with an operating system, I may buy it. It’s smaller than the one I have already, which I still need to sit down and try to fix, and I neither need nor can really afford it, but I still want to get it. The plus side being if I do get it, the kids will get a lot of use from it.

Talking of the kids, they were round yesterday and Charisma came rushing in to tell me about Chloe, the new gerbil that she had bought with the last of her birthday money. I went in to see it when I dropped them back, and although it looked like a small rat to me, Charisma seemed fairly pleased with it, telling me that Uncle Mark had said he would buy some add-ons for the cage for Christmas. Being the “try and teach the kids something good” kind of dad, I explained that he would only do that if the gerbil was taken care of, and Charisma took care of it, fed and watered it and regularly changed it’s bedding.

Mel picked up on this straight away, and quickly agreed with me, adding that she had already discussed this with Charisma and that, at nine years of age, she was old enough to take responsibility.

You can almost guess what’s coming next, can’t you?

I went round this morning to say hi to the kids before they went off to school. As I stepped in the door, Mel murmured that Charisma was upset, detailing, in a hushed voice, that she’d woken up this morning to find the cage knocked over and open, and Chloe gone. They’d looked high and low and found neither Chloe nor, thankfully, any Chloe body parts.

Charisma was upset, but not visibly. I’m told she’d calmed down since earlier on, but the only indication of her upset was, as we passed Simba the cat at the top of the stairs (who I swear licked it’s lips as we spoke about the missing rodent), Charisma hissed “Naughty Simmy!”

I spent five minutes looking for Chloe, the whole time talking to Charisma about why the door was left open when the cats were around, and that the gerbil was probably gone forever. Charisma’s explanation was that she always slept with the door open, and that she wasn’t going to Brownies tonight so that she could continue the search.

About an hour ago Mel texted me to ask if I could give her a lift to the pet shop later, so I’m guessing she is buying a new one. I’m going to try and get her to buy one that’s a completely different colour, so that Charisma is fully aware of the change, and can accept some responsibility, but Mel will probably want to swap like for like and say that Chloe has come back.

So I get to do that after a trip to B&Q to buy felt for the shed roof which blew off last week.

Life continues to be exciting.

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