I’ve mentioned my guinea pigs before. One of them seemed a bit down last week – not eating, sitting hunched in the corner, and just looking a bit miserable. I took her to the vet on Thursday and misaligned teeth was diagnosed. She went in for an op on Friday to see what they could do and the prognosis was not good. The vet said her teeth were in quite a state and it was very likely to happen again and to keep an eye on her. On Saturday evening she went from bad to worse. She hadn’t eaten for days and wasn’t drinking. When I came home after a day out biking she was lying on her side, limp, like a rag doll.
I spent most of Saturday night and early Sunday morning getting her to drink water with a baby food-type powder the vet gave me mixed in. She perked up a little bit after an hour, but it was clear that she was in a bad way. She couldn’t stand properly, was breathing heavily, and was in some distress. By the morning I suspected the worst and called the vet. When I took her in the vet shared my pessimism and noted that while she was performing the op she wasn’t convinced my baby was going to survive. So we decided to have her put down and a couple of minutes later she was gone. It was clear that distorted teeth weren’t her only problem as she appeared to have an abscess in her lower jaw, but all that’s academic. She was out of her misery and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t shed a few tears. But that wasn’t the only reason.
At 9am, just before I called the vet, my mobile phone started bleeping at me. And when I looked at it I was shocked. It told me that on this day (12 May) four years ago (1998) my good friend Gavin Evans (below, third from the left) was killed in a random accident aged 23.
His death wasn’t my first experience of losing somebody – I was 11 when that happened. Nor was he my last. But his death has hit me the hardest. It still upsets me today sometimes – and I’m not an emotional guy. He was a fairly quiet lad at primary school, although very intelligent. But going to university made a man of him. He turned into a 6-foot-plus go-getter who’d try anything and never had a bad word to say about anybody.
The one conversation I had with him that always springs to mind was on the day that the photo above was taken. He’d just started parachuting and he was loving it. He must have spent a good hour or so explaining in detail everything you’d ever want to know about it. His enthusiasm was infectious and I added parachuting to my lifetime to-do list there and then. Ironically, the more I think about it the more like him I’ve become over the years in my outlook on life. To say that he was one of the nicest guys I’ve ever known would be a massive understatement. You may not have known him but I did. And I can assure you that the world is a lesser place without him.
I don’t often put anything negative on this site. But this isn’t any ordinary day. Not for me. Rest in peace, old friends.