tortoise, tortii, tortuous

EBay is depressing me, dearest reader. I am winding it down for a while. I keep getting messages. I am now at the stage where I dread reading them. They are none of them cheery. Here is a short and compressed selection: ‘I think this has ripped (it was fine when I sent it); this has a minuscule stain invisible to the naked eye, why did you not tell me about this?, Why does it cost that much to send socks (because you live in Israel, sir, and it is not 1957), this item, that you have sent tracked to my house is lost, this item that you sent to me and did not send tracked to my house, is lost.’

Argh, just argh and more argh. No matter what I do it all seems to be wrong at the moment and I have no way of saying: ‘NO! NO! NO! Do admit!’ I just say: ‘Oh dear. I am so sorry. Do let me give you a mountain of cash and bathe your indignant face in my repentant tears.’

I suspect that at least half of these complaints are entirely fictional, and it galls me.

I feel angry, and then guilty, and apologetic, and then furious, and mostly helpless. Then I remember I am British and this is how I am supposed to feel, and then I think that Nigel Farage wanting to keep Britain British is an even more stupid idea than it at first seems. Why would I ever want to pass on this kind of guilt ridden, queue fascistic, pale skinned lunacy to any of my children voluntarily? What my bloodline needs is a good dose of chutzpah and middle fingered outrage to pep it up a bit, not this lily livered quivering nonsense I am in current possession of. I’d also like better hair and olive skin that always looks splendid and never slightly grey and splotchy – thank you.

Then I think: ‘I am NOT cut out for customer service.’ Which my ex husband will totally tell you is true because I once called someone a fucking peasant and hung up on them when they had harangued me on the phone for twenty minutes about an email I hadn’t even sent them. Apparently it is not the done thing to call potential customers fucking peasants, even if they are deranged and you would rather be given a bag of well matured cat pooh than their business in the first place.

So, I am having a holiday from earning money for a bit, which is going to be soothing to my soul, and allow me to read some of the vast acreage of books that have piled up while I have been busy being a capitalist pig dog, so that’s good.

With the last dregs of my Paypal earnings I have solved the problem of what the hell to buy Tilly for her birthday.

We are getting a tortoise.

She was so excited when we suggested it, she actually cried. Which is nice.

I have not actually bought a tortoise on EBay because this is illegal, but I have bought all the gubbins for looking after a tortoise from a man on EBay and we are going to meet, like spies, at the M1 services on Tuesday, and I am going to give him the code words (Heroes in a half shell – I know, turtles, but hey), and he is going to hand over the swag and then we will tip each other the wink, and drive off into the night.

Then we have to prepare for the coming of the tortoise, with bunting, and a fanfare of trumpets, and probably some cuttle fish and a bit of lettuce, and then we have to go and buy a tortoise.

I have been doing extensive research on the internet this afternoon.

I have learned many things, nearly as many things as I have learned about bees. All of it is confusing and posits the idea that looking after a tortoise is an enormous amount of hard work.

This totally gives the lie to my entire childhood, where every halfwit and his dog owned a tortoise which they roundly ignored for the most part, content to let it roam around the garden all summer, occasionally poking bits of tomato into its mouth when it sailed by the kitchen window. There would be a brief flurry of excitement when watching Blue Peter reminded you that you really needed to paint the name of your tortoise in drippy, white emulsion on its back and then stuff it into a cardboard box full of straw for the winter, and another brief flurry when they reminded you to reverse the process in the spring. Other than that it was all gravy and your tortoise would live to be a trillion years old with no problems whatsoever.

It now appears that this is an utter, out and out lie. I cannot tell, as when I tried to swap my Sindy horse for a tortoise in 1979 my mother made me take it back to the owner as soon as she found out what I’d done. If that swap had been successful that tortoise might be here today to save me from the anguish of choosing which tortoise is less likely to die under our tender, loving care.

There is the Horsfield, which can be bred in this country and as such are more suited to our colder climate. This was my first choice until I found that they have terrible issues with damp. It is nothing if not damp around here.

Now I’m inclining towards the Hermann, which although from foreign climes, apparently does well in the UK, has a quirky personality and doesn’t give a shit about the damp. It does however, like warmth, and heat lamps must be procured, and your house kept at sub tropical temperatures to prevent tortoise wilt.

I am also inclining towards the Hermann because I would secretly call it Goering, even though Tilly will get to name it for real.

I suspect this is not a good reason for inclining towards a particular brand of tortoise.

Any and all tips and recommendations greatly appreciated before the grand tortoise buying spree commences.

5 responses to “tortoise, tortii, tortuous

  1. I always wanted a tortoise too. They all seem to come in tanks these days (another reason for calling him Goering) although the 59 year old tortoise called Rupert who lives next door to me is the old fashioned variety that lives in the garden, wanders around all day and hibernates in a box of straw in the shed. I don’t know what make he is, but he has a surprising turn of speed and rather likes chasing cats – although he is happy to share his box of straw in the greenhouse with my female cat.

  2. We have a Hermanns! She is called Marina, and she is 10. I bought her (I also met the seller in a bizarre location halfway between us; the car-park of Banbury Hospital I seem to remember) as a wedding present for John. He was completely bemused about the trip to Banbury Hospital, and frankly, alarmed when he saw the box had what he instantly and correctly identified as breathing holes punched in it.

    You must come, eat cake, and have Tortoise Talk with us!

    I too have given up eBay in a haaruumphing huff for identical reasons. Bastards, the lot of ’em.

  3. PS – Are you having a wee baby one, or a older one? I quite fancy breeding Marina in 10 years or so. If yours is a boy, we could start a Hairy-Boo tortoise breeding programme! 🙂

  4. That has almost made my mind up to get a Hermann’s. Would love to come and talk tortoise with you. Hopefully we will have him/her by the end of the week. Am going on advice of Belgian Waffle to get at least a two year old, preferably older if I can find one. x

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