Saturday, 31 March 2007

A new creature in the family

Since my (our) son left home, over three years ago now, I have been thinking about getting a dog. I miss having someone cute and dependent, maybe it's a control thing, maybe I'm institutionalised I don't know. But as neither of us are home regularly at the moment getting a dog seems a bit cruel. So anyway, a few weeks ago we were in Carlisle for some reason and we saw a notice in a pet shop window 'Dragons in stock now' or something like that. Of course we had to go in and see what a real dragon looks like. I had visions of a creature from Harry Potter. But on entering and before we saw any dragons we saw the most darling baby tortoises and were stopped in our tracks. We stood and watched them for ages: chomping on greens, trying to turn one another over, clambering about. But finally had to leave the shop and do what we had gone to Carlisle to do.

So, next week is my birthday and my poor husband never knows what to get me, apparently I'm hideously fussy. I've been angling for that expensive brown bag that I mentioned a few posts ago, but he's too scared that he gets the wrong one.

This morning I woke up and the sun was shining, I was a little hung over but it was nice and snuggly in bed and I felt quite cheery. Then he said the words 'it's baby tortoise day.' Yes, he had decided to get me a baby tortoise for my birthday and today he was taking me out to chose one. So once I'd struggled out of bed and had the requisite two buckets of tea followed by a 'quick' shower, off we went in the car back to Carlisle to spend several hours in the aforementioned petshop mulling over tortoises the size of a two pound coin. Some were a bit dozy, others seemed intent on fighting and some seemed to do nothing but eat. But one was extra tiny and inquisitive looking, when I held him in my hand he turned round in a circle gazing about the room and stared straight at me. He pushed with his right hind leg and tickled my palm: he was the one.

And now here he is, safe and warm in a vivariam on top of the drinks cupboard in my study. I, once more, have a tiny creature to feed and nurture. Hurrah!!! There can be no better birthday present. Welcome to my lair little Rollo.


Dr Maroon said...

Hmmm. I'm just wondering.
I'm asking myself if the top of the drinks cabinet is the ideal place for a small, hard but obviously tactile animal.
You're in a hurry to mix a couple of Manhattans say, you're hunting around for a spoon, or maybe something to break the ice with... You see where this is going?

Eryl Shields said...

I'm going to have to go and lie down in a darkened room now to purge myself of the images you have helped conjure. Then yes... Perhaps a re-think may be in order.

mary.whitsell@virgin.net said...

Good for your husband, getting you a turtle. I'm crazy about turtles and have thought about getting one myself, as it is the only plausibly pet-type animal I can't imagine my cat killing or terrorizing.

When I was a child, my father worked at the Los Angeles Arboretum. One day, an old lady donated nine turtles to the arboretum and they didn't know what to do with them, so he brought them home to me. The largest was almost big enough for me to sit on. One of the turtles had a hole in its shell that we were told a leash (lead) had been fastened to; the previous owner apparently used to take it for walks; she'd had hip surgery and I can imagine that she and her pet went at the same pace.

And don't worry -- a turtle's shell is not hard enough to crack ice with, so you'll probably never be tempted to try it.

My birthday is next week too! Happy Birthday in advance.

Eryl Shields said...

Thanks Mary. Happy birthday in advance to you too.

After nearly thirty years my husband is just about getting to grips with the sort of gifts I will really appreciate and Rollo (that's what I've named the tort) is the best yet. And I think that's pretty good going because I still haven't got a clue what he might want.

I wasn't allowed pets when I was a child so this is me starting to realise a few childhood dreams. I wonder if Stevie might like some chickens for his birthday.

Carole said...

Rollo is cute as a button, but I've heard that over time, pet owners begin to take on charachteristic of their owners. So be warned. Don't start withdrawing into a shell.

Eryl Shields said...

I'm already a bit that way inclined Carole, I only creep out of my house when absolutely necessary. So I think Rollo and I are perfectly attuned. I think my husband will worry if I start eating dandelions though.