The Tortoise and la mère

tortoise 2 The ‘la mère’ part of the title will be revealed in due course, but first let me tell you about the little guy leaning precariously into my pond for a drink. Just for the record, he’s a tortoise, not a turtle.

Tortoises are land animals. Instead of flippers, they have  stumpy little feet with claws, and as far as I know, they can’t swim. Bear that in mind for later.

When I first noticed this little guy in the garden a couple of weeks ago, I thought he was an escapee, and apart from putting out a bowl of water near his hiding place, I left him alone. In fact, I forgot about him until yesterday when Mogi’s high-pitched barking sent me out into the garden to investigate. I quickly raced back inside for my camera!

tortoise 3

As you can see, Mogi’s presence, and relentless barking didn’t seem to bother Sir Feral Tortoise one little bit, but my presence instantly sent him back into his shell. Clearly he was wary of humans.

Eventually he came out and stuck his head in the water. I assume he was drinking, but he could just as easily have been trying to catch my fish.

Sneaking up for a closer shot, I was just in time to see him topple into the pond head first. He could have just overbalanced, but I suspect I startled him.

Handing the camera to the Daughter, I raced over to the pond and saw him just floating there, a couple of inches below the surface. He looked kind of, surprised, as if falling in had never occurred to him.

Needless to say, I didn’t wait around to see if he could dog-paddle his way out. After fishing him out of the big pond, I put him down next to the little pond, where he’d be able to reach the water without doing tortoise acrobatics.

Since then, I’ve done some research, and apparently we have native Snake-Neck, or Long-Neck tortoises here in Australia. These guys have webbing between their toes and claws so they can swim. Unfortunately, I’m still uncertain whether Sir Feral is a native that just happened to wander onto my property [like the echidna], or an escapee that has acclimatised to our bush conditions.

Whatever Sir Feral may be, he seems quite happy here, and comes out at dusk to drive Mogi crazy. If there are any tortoise experts out there I’d really love to know what kind of tortoise he is!

And now to the ‘la mère’ part of the title. La mère is French for mother, and refers to me. I am a mother, and a bit of a mother hen as well, but to be honest, I was more interested in the sound of the word than its meaning. Plus there’s a nice bit of irony there – I’ve always thought of myself as cautious and plodding, rather than quick and impetuous. 😀

So… this Mère doesn’t do New Year’s Resolutions because, well they’re kind of pointless, aren’t they? I mean, how many of us actually follow through on them? I know I never do.

That said, I do believe that New Year is a great time to take stock of the year that was, and 2013 has been quite a year for me. On the upside, 2013 was the year I self-published two works of fiction, and was included in a third publication.

2013 was also the year I posted a modest little how-to on my blog. I wrote it as a release from frustration, and in the hope that it might help some others who were as non-smart-phone savvy as I was. Realistically, however, I expected that post to sink into the mire of general disinterest. Instead it gathered views like a snowball hurtling down a mountain.

As at December 31, 2013, that modest little how-to has generated 30, 749 views. For those interested in statistics, that’s about three times the number of total views I had during 2012, bringing the total views for my two years of blogging to 62,504.

2013 year end summary

Views for my ordinary posts doubled as well, but the run-away success of my tech writing both thrilled, and dismayed me. After all, I was done with tech writing, wasn’t I?

I have a love/hate relationship with the concept of fate. On the one hand, I believe, utterly and completely, in free will. On the other hand, fate seems to have played a big part in my life, often pushing me in directions I didn’t want to go, directions which turned out to be right, in hindsight.

So was the sudden success of my tech writing down to fate, or just random luck? I will never know, but when I first started looking for a paying job, back in July of 2013, my prospects were rather dismal. I had a lot of computer related skills but, officially at least, they were all far too many years out of date. Then the consultant mentioned that I could upgrade my training qualifications via a 16 week course.

I don’t want to sound overly dramatic, but I literal felt something go ka-thunk in my mind.

As most of you know, I did the course, and have been applying for training positions since December. I’ve received no offers yet, but I believe 2014 will be the year I Get A Job! At 61, that will be something of an achievement. 😉

So those were the highlights of 2013 for me. I didn’t write as much fiction as I would have liked, but overall, I think 2013 was a very good year.

I hope 2013 was as kind to you as it was to me. Happy New Year and roll on 2014!

-massive hugs-


About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

26 responses to “The Tortoise and la mère

  • Johnny

    Someone said it, but I’d like to confirm, this is an Eastern Long-Neck “Turtle” (Native to south east Australia). You can always tell by the feet and shell. If the feet/shell is more armored than slick, it’s a tortoise.


  • EllaDee

    Congratulations – everything you accomplished – including the tortoise-turtle*, you’ve earned.
    And so, I think on your current form, you can expect great things of 2014, well deserved 🙂
    * I much admired your landscaping post-pics.


  • Jennifer

    Gorgeous tortoise, I love sneaky animals like that.
    Congrats on the stats and god luck with all you do this year. It’s going to be a good one!


  • geooorge

    Seriously, i’d strap a GIJoe figure on its back with a sword thrust forward.
    But then again i wear a cow hat when i want to come up with ideas.


  • Chris James

    I’m really enjoying the pics of your garden and wildlife, and I’m very happy for you as you make a name for yourself – well done, and all the best for 2014!


  • alexlaybourne

    I would love a pet Tortoise. I have just worked my wife enough to let me get a dog, so that is next on the list lol.

    Wow those stats are amazing. Beats me by a good 13,000 or so. Good luck for this years Meeks. All the best!


    • acflory

      lol – first the dog, then the tortoise and then the pony [for the kids of course]. You’ll have a menagerie in no time. 🙂

      And honestly, those stats are just a fluke. I’d be far happier if they were for my ‘real’ writing. 🙂 Roll on 2014 for both of us!


  • anne54

    30 749 views — I can’t even begin to visualize them on the stats charts! Well done!
    You must be doing lots of good things in your garden if these creatures are happy to visit, and hopefully stay. Happy New year to you too. 🙂


    • acflory

      lol – I know! It’s an insane number, and I feel like a bit of a fraud as it was sheer luck that I’m not the only luddite in this world.

      Thanks Anne. I hope 2014 is a good one for you too. 🙂


  • David Prosser

    Another animal in the menagerie eh. I’m sure your new friend will soon get used to having you around.
    I wish you a New Year filled with Love and Laughter. I won’t mention the job as I know you’ll get one. Happy Birthday by the way?
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx


  • metan

    Awww, I love turtles. I say turtle because Sir Feral looks very much like the Eastern Long Necked turtle we had as a pet some years ago.

    Our Squirtle (like the Pokemon) was a beloved member of the family, we called her ‘a puppy in a box’ because she was just like a puppy when you came into the room, rushing over to the glass and clawing madly until you gave her a pat or a bug.

    They are happy swimmers and fast runners as many an unsuspecting owner has found when they turned their eyes away from them if they let them out in the garden. Our poor girl was the victim of an over zealous feeder when we were away on holiday. 😦 😦 now we take the pets with us or we don’t go. 😦

    You are very lucky having this visitor! Happy new year to you, and the dogs, and Sir Feral. 😀


    • metan

      PS. If you have a ramp going into the pond for ease of access you might find he stays around for more than a drink. He might even bring a girlfriend!


    • acflory

      Ah hah! Thanks for that Metan. I noticed Sir Feral’s feet were wet yesterday evening, and worried that one day I’d find him floating amidst the duck week.

      Even though he doesn’t like me one bit I hope he sticks around. 🙂


      • metan

        He might be looking for a new home, they need to feed in water, they don’t feed on land (I’m assuming here he is the same kind of turtle we had) so he might have moved on from a crowded creek nearby.
        If your little fish have reeds to hide in they will be mostly safe, little fish have better cornering abilities than turtles. Our Squirtle had fishy friends that lasted months at a time. 😉

        They are good climbers but if the sides of your pond are too steep it will take too much energy to get out and he won’t like it.

        I’m very envious, I would love a pond big enough to attract more than thirsty birds!

        Hopefully 2014 is the year you Get A Job, and a turtle! 😀


        • acflory

          He seems to be sticking around so I guess he’s finding enough of his food to keep him here. I just hope he leaves my fishies alone. I don’t think they’re used to be being hunted. But you’re right, they’re far more zippy than Sir Feral!

          Speaking of fish, they seem to love the new pond pump/filter/aerator. I managed to get it to bubble just above the surface and now the water is beautifully clear and the fish actually play around the bubbles.

          The pond and the fish survived with just water plants for quite a few years now, but everything looks brighter thanks to the pump. And I have to admit I’m ecstatic at not having to clean the goop out by hand!

          Fingers and toes crossed for 2014. 🙂


  • Yvonne Hertzberger

    Cute story and pics. All the best for 2014. I hope it delivers all you look forward to.


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