When your children ask for a pet hamster, always follow your gut instincts and refuse.

Last night, I entered the bathroom to find my wife had suddenly and unexpectedly replaced the tile lino with bare floorboards. She was on her knees sanding the boards for that perfect Victorian antique looking finish.

I carefully navigated my way to the sink and noticed my two children huddled under the pedestal, feverishly yanking at floorboards and ripping up plywood with their bare hands.

‘Stop it. What do you think you’re doing ? For the last time, it’s bedtime. I’m trying to brush my teeth here.’

‘Dad - it’s Gromit. He’s trapped under the floorboards.’

My wife politely interjected…

‘Put that bloody toothbrush down and get me a claw hammer. Now.’

And so it continued. The stylish, ivory and cream, fake Italian lino got torn, pieces of plywood got raised and more floorboards got levered up. Still, there was no access to the little, cuddly, brown hamster who was squealing from under the sink pedestal. I could have sworn he was singing ‘A song from under the floorboards’ by Magazine.

I resigned myself to his imminent death and yet another pet funeral in my garden. I tried to sneak out without brushing my teeth, claiming I was looking for creative solutions on the Internet. I slipped and broke my ankle on pine nuts that were liberally scattered on the floor.

‘Get me a pair of pliers. Now.’

Oh no. Not the torture by pliers. My wife proferred a coat hanger which I severed in two places. She then bent the wire into an improvised corkscrew style, helter-skelter type device for small rodents.

Thankfully, with more coaxing, the hamster managed to achieve yet another miraculous escape. This was a tremendous relief as I suspect my wife’s next strategy was to start drilling up through the lounge ceiling perilously close to multiple water pipes.

Later in bed, I remarked ‘When those hamsters are dead, we are not getting any more pets. Ever.’

Norma replied ‘Oh come on. Could you really stand there every morning and night brushing your teeth knowing that Gromit’s dead body lay just four feet away under the floorboards ?’

‘You know what Norma. You’re right. He’s such a lovable little hamster I don’t think I could have possibly lived with myself.’

‘There you are. So you do have a heart after all. You do care.’

‘I suppose I would have ended up using the downstairs loo instead.’