I was at primary school in Glasgow called Chirnsyde when I had my first pet, or should I say pets.
They were quite exotic, especially in those days. They were a pair of Orange Cheeked Waxbills.
We kept them in a green painted cage. They hailed from West Africa and bought at a local pet
I named them Dusty and Dave after two well known pop stars in the sixties. It was the early sixties
when we got them, fairly unusual in those days.They were delightful little things, I suppose as
common in Africa as Sparrows are here. They gave us no trouble , but when they escaped it took
some time to recapture them. We put a nest basket in with them as we found out that the liked to
build a domed nest. Unfortunatly no success on the breeding front. some would ask why not a
rabbit or a dog as a first pet always have been a bit different in our life choices. Some time later
we did get a dog, a cross cairn terrier and yes he wasnt very happy.No he was a fine little dog and
we called him Mhor, gaelic for big. He could be a little crabbit as is quite normal for cairns I beleive.
One day though one of the waxbills managed to escape the confines of the cage and much hilarity
ensued in trying to recapture the escapee. Much to our horror ,during the chase, when it flew too
near Mhor who snapped at it and caught the poor little thing. Fortunatly Mhor opened his mouth
and the waxbill flew out to freedom again. It was none the worse for its ordeal. We had a good
laugh mostly through relief.
During the years of my growing up we had some other unusual pets, like the mallard duckling I
found by the roadside. Also pigeons, the white fantail variety, one in particular was a hen who bred
profusely. This was a remarkable little bird as some time befor I got her some idiot had shot
her with an air rifle taking off half her face. I must admit though that the plot holders across
the back lane from us were none too pleased when the fantails strted nibbling on their cabbages, or
so they said.
Pets and strays seemed to always land at our door perhaps I had something to do with that.