We thought we’d lost him! We thought he might have been mowed down or slashed with a machete, for there was no sign of him in his normal haunts…
Elvis, you may recollect, is a small tortoise given to us by our friends Helen and Pasquale, whose three tortoises in their garden in Florence had become antagonistic to each other, with all sorts of slow-motion aggressive behaviour. In a peacekeeping mission, they gave Elvis to us a couple of years ago.
We sighted him from time to time pottering in the walled garden and noted that he had chosen a burrow in the warmth of the compost heap for his winter sleep. We saw him a couple of times when he woke this spring, but for the last few weeks he disappeared. He didn’t write, he didn’t call…
But today we are happy to report that Elvis is alive and well and living in the walled garden at the Watermill. He hasn’t fallen prey to the lawnmower, or the strimmer or the gardener’s machete.
Yesterday morning, I was examining the bay bush which we have cut back ruthlessly in an attempt to produce a much more pleasant outline, and there in the centre, as I parted the branches, was the boy himself. He was so still that I feared he might be dead, but then he moved his little leathery head.
We plucked him out and gave him some water and a fresh lettuce leaf, in which he seemed singularly uninterested, and Lois gave him a welcome-back tickle under his chin (the picture at the top).
I have to say, in all honesty, that Elvis is the most boring pet I’ve ever met. Throw a stick or a ball for him and he hardly moves, and I doubt that, had he had a lead he would ever have a playful tug-of-war with it with us.
Still, it is nice to have him back and I’ve always wanted to write a headline like the one above.
PS. Helen and Pasquale are a little embarrassed about the name. They wished they’d called him Dante or Michelangelo or some such high-powered Italian moniker. But we are happy he’s Elvis and are glad to see him from time to time, when he deigns to show himself.
Come and see for yourself one of the Watermill’s famous creative courses. There is more about all the website which you can view by clicking here.