Living in a fourth-floor flat was impractical for keeping most pets.
Goldfish were always an option. I would regularly win one at our Balham school fete. However, the quality was so poor, the fish would invariably have visited that great fish-tank in the sky, before I’d even got out of the lift on the fourth-floor. A fete worth than death 😊.
Because there were large communal gardens in our flats, I would seek out potential pets with the hope of developing a deep bond.
I would often find caterpillars (the bonding lasted between 7 – 14 days due to the evolution the caterpillar goes through).
The (un)natural habitat of the caterpillar is, of course, a matchbox (always many around the house due to my dad being sponsored by Senior Service). Obviously, it needed feeding so, a variety of cabbage leaves were stuffed into the box (saved me having to eat my greens). Friend for life (well, a fortnight, tops).
However, caterpillars grow into moths – which I discovered after opening its matchbox once and seeing it make a beeline for my mum’s coats!
I would have to mark the matchbox with a label “Mr Caterpillar” or my mum would take hours trying to light the stove with it. Aufwiedersehen, pet!