The search for Darwin

If you keep tortoises, you spend a fair bit of time hunting for them.  Actually, ideally you have a single tortoise. They are not particularly sociable and, if you’re lucky, they will get on quite well but if you’re not, then you may have to separate them.  My three are all right together at present, but I’m not hugely confident that this will continue.

Zig has a small, enclosed lawn: on two sides by garden fences, at the back there is a step up to the next bit of the garden and in front she has put a low, decorative wire fence so that her tortoise, Darwin, can roam free on the grass.  He also has a cold frame that he can retreat to if he wants extra warmth.  I’d put him on the lawn this morning and when I went to fetch him in, I couldn’t find him.  This is not a big area to search, though there are plants and pots and so on, but I peered everywhere, went on my hands and knees, searched shrubs and behind the raised pond and eventually called Zig to help.  She searched everywhere I had, I looked again and checked for anywhere he might have burrowed.  We suggested to the dogs that they might sniff him out.  Maybe it would have worked if we’d had a beagle.

Half an hour later, of course, I found him under a hydrangea, where we’d both looked several times already.

In the summer, I sometimes didn’t see my trio for days.  I was so busy looking after chicks, hens and cats that I just peered in – I could usually spot Edweena – and put in some food, though there were also weeds in their enclosure for them to forage.  It’s a lot simpler now they’re indoors.

I took the dogs for a long walk this morning – that is, they ran a long way, I suppose I only walked a couple of miles at most.  It was a beautiful day, I’d taken a light jacket and was rather too warm.  There’s a track between two fields that is a public footpath and it’s rather attractive scenery.  Winter wheat was already coming up in one field and others were ploughed.  After harvest, it’s a tranquil time of year.

Tomorrow, a friend of Zig’s is coming for lunch and, if Zig feels well enough, we will go to the village pub, which is nearly opposite her house.  How convenient.  It’s an attractive pub, but a bit basic and old-fashioned in a chips with everything way.  Still, you can’t go wrong with Sunday lunch.  In the afternoon, I’ll head off homewards, stopping on the way with Tim, who has spent the week browsing recipe books as he decides what to feed me.

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