woolymonkey: (singe a la licorne)
I've been looking out of the window and wondering if Speedy was up yet.  He usually keeps time with the daffodils, which are early this year.  This morning I got an email from his lovely new carer in Whittlesford with before and after pictures.

Just up...

speedy spring 14 before

As you can see, he's had a nice warm bath and some oil,  and looks splendid - ready for another summer!
speedy spring 14 after

I think this is the earliest he's come up apart from the year of the Japanese earthquake, but I'm sure he was shocked out of the ground early by the vibrations from that as it wasn't at all his usual gradual rise and he went back to bed again afterwards.  This year it sounds as though he's just woken up gently and early because of the warm weather.  Just like the daffodils.
woolymonkey: (singe a la licorne)
It's been a week of intensive marking overlapping with a long weekend of pet wrangling.  Before I'd even finished the Unreal University stuff, Humbug had gone missing and a lot of time got poured into searching for any trace of him until we found him safe and well on Saturday.  He's been unusually quiet and indoorsy since then - clearly spending 3 nights in the great Outdoors was rather more than he really wanted.  He's just getting back to normal now, which means he probably won't come in when we call him tonight...

The on Sunday we took Speedy to the next lucky volunteer to offer him a home.  He's now in Whittlesford in a garden that seems perfect for him.  There are shrubs to wander amongst, but nothing too fragile, a good solid wall and fence, and no gate.  The people are lovely and really keen to have him.  There's even another tortoise, called Spiky, who lives down the road.  They're thinking of arranging a play date :)  Fingers crossed, this is the home that's going to work out for him.

Now I'm catching up on the other stuff like baking biscotti, mopping the kitchen floor and going to the Pompeii exhibition at the British Museum with [livejournal.com profile] tamaranth and [livejournal.com profile] swisstone.

Updated at 10.15
Both cats just came in and it's not even raining yet.  For Leicester this is normal behaviour.  Hum does NOT come in during the day unless the weather forces him in--except that he does since his Big Adventure.  They also seem to be spending more time together.  It's as if Hum doesn't want to be on his own :)
woolymonkey: (singe a la licorne)
This was Speedy on Saturday in his new home with the gorgeous (and really quite large) Toby (now Toberina or Tobette).

They were blissfully happy together for about 40 minutes.  But then he started to make a pest of himself, ramming her shell, biting her legs, and generally giving her the full, irresistible male tortoise pick-up routine.  It wasn't as irresistible as he thought.  Toberina lumbered away.  Speedy followed.  Thump, crash, thump.  Toberina turned round and bit him.  Speedy persisted.  And persisted.  And persisted.  Seriously, tortoises are not good with hints, or indeed with forceful rejection.  Toberina's owner put her up on the decking where Speedy couldn't go, mostly for Speedy's own safety.  Speedy rammed the decking.  Toberina's owner phoned me.  I phoned [livejournal.com profile] bugshaw.  Speedy was packed up and returned to [livejournal.com profile] bugshaw's garden.  He wasn't happy about leaving Toberina, but seemed quite relieved to be home.  He ate three large helpings of lettuce and went to sleep.

The next potential victim tortoise owner on Speedy's list is away over half term.  So Speedy gets to annoy [livejournal.com profile] ozymandias_cat by occupying the tiger barn (TM) for a while longer or so before we try him somewhere else.  Somewhere without a lady tortoise this time.
woolymonkey: (singe a la licorne)
Thank you for all the kind offers of homes for Speedy.  We were planning to spend the weekend working out the best thing to do, but the decision has been made for us by a new offer today.  We heard from a family in Cambridge with a lonely lady tortoise called Toby.  (It's a long story.)  Toby is larger and enjoys a spacious, well-tortoise-proofed garden, so she ought to be able to keep him in his place in all senses.  We've thought for a long time the old reptile must be very lonely, and he certainly goes looking for love every May-June (and finds it occasionally in odd places like lumps of chicken wire).  So lets all hope Toby likes him.

Sorry to disappoint the many people who offered to have him.  It seems unfair to give him to the person who already has a tortoise, but we hope the outcome will be two very happy tortoises.  Who knows, perhaps there'll be tortoise eggs...

If Toby doesn't take to him, we'll have him back (or rather, we hope [livejournal.com profile] bugshaw, [livejournal.com profile] tamaranth and [livejournal.com profile] ozymandias_cat will) while we go back to the offers.  So please reply here or, better still, send me an email if you'd like to go on his waiting list.

Here's a picture of the lovely Toby for you to admire )
and compare with the handsome Speedy )
Please can we have warm weather on Sunday afternoon?  We can't arrange a tortoise first date if it's too chilly for either of them to wake up.

busy busy

May. 23rd, 2013 10:42 am
woolymonkey: (keyboard)
I somehow have another translation - somebody's business is picking up out there, or maybe it's just the aftermath of everyone making their in-house translators redundant.  Got to get it done before half term and EMA marking.

I keep saying I'll have free time in another week or so, and it still looks like that, but who knows.  If the translations keep coming, I should grab them while they're there and I'm not busy with Unreal Uni work.  On the other hand it would be nice to see friends...  I do plan to get to the beer fest for lunch either today or, more likely, tomorrow.

So I'd better get back to that German medical report.

In other news, Speedy if grateful for all the offers and inquiries, of which he's had many here and elsewhere.  He'll be making his decision over the weekend, if he's not too cold to think.
woolymonkey: (singe a la licorne)
Grumpy because currently confined to the greenhouse.  We need to find a new home for Speedy before he escapes again.  (See previous posts for that saga.)  It should be easy as there's a very limited supply of tortoises in this country, but we would prefer it if he went to a friend, or friend-of-a-friend, so we can still have news of him occasionally.
[livejournal.com profile] bugshaw, [livejournal.com profile] tamaranth  and [livejournal.com profile] ozymandias_cat  get first refusal as they provided a lovely home for him all last summer.  I'm fairly sure they don't want him permanently though.

If you're interested, here's the deal. )

If you think you can give him a good home, if only for a while, we'd love to hear from you. We urgently need to get him to a place where he can have a bit of space without the danger of escape, so even having him for a few weeks would be a big help if you have a suitable garden.  If we can't find a good temporary or permanent home for him soon, then we will try animal rescues.

Found!

May. 16th, 2013 12:32 pm
woolymonkey: (singe a la licorne)
Speedy is back.  He was spotted wandering along the sheep field at the animal research place up the road, who knew he was missing and phoned us.  It's quite a way, but at least he had the sense to keep away from the roads and to get himself found by people who have hay and boxes.  Insert your own jokes about animal research labs and lost pets, but they were lovely to him.

He is now grounded in the greenhouse, which has brick walls and a step.  Our considerable efforts to provide a tortoise-proof enclosure have failed.  We don't even know where he's getting out, so we can't begin to prevent him doing it again.  His adventure has made it clear that we live in a terrible place for a tortoise to go walkabout--it's all busy roads and fields where he's impossible to spot.  He could live happily in the fields for years chomping on dandelions, but then there's farm machinery... and the fact that the whole area is soon to be bulldozed and concreted over...  Also, something about being here makes him frantic to escape.  I've known him 35 years, but I've never seen him work so hard to get out of anywhere.  He was always foiled by the slightest step, but here he climbed up quite a big one in search of freedom.  (I watched him do it and moved the plant pot he was using to brace himself, so he won't do that again, but he obviously found another way.)  I think he sensed the wide open spaces of countryside and just went for it.  So the only sensible thing is to rehome him before he escapes again.

I'll do a separate post in a minute with info about adopting him.  I would obviously be lovely for us if he could go to someone we know.
woolymonkey: (singe a la licorne)
We haven't seen Speedy since about 2pm yesterday.  We were hoping he'd just turned in slightly earlier than usual, but this morning he's not come out to bask in the sun.  More accurately, I'm sure he's come out to bask and charge his batteries, but he's not doing it anywhere in our garden or next door to it.  It's a mystery how he got out as we thought we had him securely fenced and walled in.  He did manage to break out a couple of times, but I brought him back, figured out how he was doing it - he was climbing up the step by bracing himself against some plant pots.  I moved the plant pots and thought I'd solved it, but clearly there was something else too.

Posters and flyers will go out today, and he has our phone number painted on his shell, so perhaps someone will find him and let us know, or perhaps he'll just bring himself home.  We'll keep hoping, checking the morning sunny spots, and listening for the sound of him crashing through the undergrowth in hot weather, and I'll report him missing with the local vets.  Is there anything else I can do?

Here's the photo from his wanted poster.



Added at 10.15
The farmer let me walk around the fields.  No sign of a tortoise, but I did see a hare...

Basking

Apr. 23rd, 2013 10:30 am
woolymonkey: (singe a la licorne)
Leicester and Speedy recharge their batteries.



Meanwhile, Humbug is away hunting.  The Beast of Girton has been fierce lately.  One day, he brought home TWO baby bunnies, which he devoured on the lawn.  He tends not to bring his prey indoors, unlike Leicester, so we rarely get to see what he catches, but his tum is so full that he often chooses to ignore offers of gushiefudz in favour of staying out late.  Tidying in the spare room Lair of Teh Beest, I found a single pheasant feather left neatly on the bed.
woolymonkey: (singe a la licorne)
Speedy is up.  Sort of.

With spring so cold and late he wisely stayed deep in his box in the shed way past his normal wake-up time of late March.  A week ago, I moved the box into the greenhouse so he could get a bit of warmth to help him start.

When I took a peek, I discovered he had clawed his way out of the small box of straw (in which he returned from [livejournal.com profile] bugshaw and [livejournal.com profile] tamaranth's where he spent last summer in comfort and luxury) and got into the big, outer box of straw.  This is not ideal since the whole point of the double box is to keep him in the middle of the insulation.  By following his instinct to go deeper when cold he ended up down in one corner of the whole package, almost outside the straw.  But since the big box was on top of an old rabbit hutch and inside the shed, maybe he actually knew what he was doing and found the warmest least chilly place.  Either way, he managed to rip an impressive hole through some quite tough cardboard and gaffer tape, all while supposedly hibernating.  Final proof of what I've suspected for a while: he doesn't hibernate  like a mammal but remains quite active, digging his way up and down underground as the temperature varies.

Anyway, today he came out of the box (with only a little encouragement).  I was all for giving him a gentle start and a day or two in the greenhouse, but [livejournal.com profile] musique_monkey wanted to put him in his new enclosure on the lawn (constructed at great effort and expense) so that's where he is.  We left him in the rabbit hutch on a big pile of straw, but he looked as though he was starting to move out.  He has some lettuce but probably won't feel like eating until he's been up a week or two.

If he decides to adopt the hutch we will either have to take the letters off it or change his name to Sooty.

hello

Mar. 20th, 2012 04:42 pm
woolymonkey: (Default)
To even greater relief than usual, Speedy is up!

This was him at about 10.30.  Hint: click to enlarge, then look for an eye next to the leaves.
speedy rise 1
speedy rise 2

Then at 1ish
speedy rise 3

And 2ish
speedy rise 4
woolymonkey: (Default)
We are creeping cautiously forwards.
Survey issues resolved - small reduction to cover electrical work: tick
Prices agreed for appliances and curtains: tick
Completion date of 3rd April: tick
Solicitors sorting out small print of clauses and exactly how the money changes hands: pending.
Tortoise out of hibernation and ready to visit [livejournal.com profile] bugshaw: no, but we know where he is and we have a spade.

Hoping to exchange contracts this week, but of course, it could still all come tumbling down.

Nervously hopeful monkey is hopeful and nervous.
woolymonkey: (Default)
Speedy spent most of Wednesday trundling round the garden. Then I went out to the bins at about 3 and saw his back half sticking vertically out of the ground where I thought he'd gone to hibernate before. He was waving his legs around in what turned out to be quite a purposeful way because the front legs underground were digging him further in, bringing his back legs in range eventually. But it looked very odd.

After an hour or so of that, it was just the back corner of shell sticking out, with his back feet still working away and poking through from time to time out of a big pile of dug earth. It's a slow process. You can watch for 5 minutes and only see one footful of earth moved. We were curious to know how he smooths out the ground behind him, so we checked every 30 mins for a while, but it got dark and we gave up before he'd finished. There's a limit to how interested I can stay in a small patch of earth where the only perceptible sign of life is the occasional vibration or mini subsidence.

He stayed down all day yesterday (Thursday) and shows no sign of coming up today, even though it's very sunny and warm. But he hasn't covered his tracks either: the signs of recent digging are obvious. Does this mean he's planning to come back up? Or just keeping his options open? Maybe he thought he didn't need to smooth it as the whole area is quite lumpy and dug over anyway (I've been moving plants around). Or he just ran out of energy and couldn't be bothered after all that bobbing up and down...

I'll let you know.

Note to myself in case I forget: he's just in front of the blackcurrant.

Meanwhile, Leicester is catching mice and staying out late. Humbug is catching sticks and scoffing Leicester's share of the gushy fudz.

boing!

Oct. 23rd, 2011 03:50 pm
woolymonkey: (Default)
Speedy is back up. He popped up this morning and I can see him still lumbering around the garden now.

He's never changed his mind to this extent before, but I should have known he wasn't properly down for the winter if I could still see the top of his shell and dug earth around him. When he really goes, he not only goes deep enough to be out of sight, he somehow smooths the ground behind him to hide the traces of digging. I'd love to know how he does that but I haven't a clue. I just know that the only way to spot where he's buried is to look for an area of suspiciously unlumpy soil. It's just about possible to spot if you know exactly where to look and it hasn't rained at all since he went.

I'll let you know when he finally decides it's bed time.
woolymonkey: (Default)
Like the weather, Speedy has suddenly decided it's winter. He was still (relatively) running about until yesterday, though he clearly had plans because he stopped eating several weeks ago. Now all I can see is the very top of his shell. Normally slowing and digging down is a much more gradual process, though I suppose it'll be a few more days before he disappears altogether--or he might even still pop back out if we get a warm day.

He's pretty much in the usual place, though less under the roots of my sickly magnolia, which must be good. He liked the nice loose area where I recently dug and added compost.

A glance back at the tortoise tag confirms his bedtime has been mid-late October ever since we moved to Cambridge. Before that, I didn't keep a record, though I used to put him in a box in the shed as per Blue Peter Procedure. I seem to have been pretty sure he wouldn't sleep before November. Maybe the difference between nippy Siberian East Anglia and the balmy Surrey Hills?
woolymonkey: (spidermonkey)
Speedy came out of hibernation yesterday. It felt very early, perhaps because Easter is late this year. Last year he came up on 9th April, but the year before was March 17th, which isn't much later. Daffodils are just coming into flower. Normally he waits until they're finishing. The cats are intrigued but seem to remember him from last year.

What was definitely surprising was the speed. By tortoise standards, he positively exploded out of the ground, and made a full tour of the garden within hours rather than the usual days, not in the least put off by the sun going in and rain falling on him. Today is sunny, but he's back in his hole with just the top of his shell showing. He's not eating, but then he doesn't usually eat at first (though he did last year).

Pics soon, when I've got some marking done

half term

Oct. 28th, 2010 06:55 pm
woolymonkey: (keyboard)
It's a busy half term this term. And I'm still working too, so apologies if I miss things on LJ as I'm only reading patchily.

Monkeys have bought a new car (used Skoda Octavia estate) with much visiting of dealers and haggling, not least with Squirrelmonkey who offered to rent out his bedroom so we could buy something with real leather seats. But we didn't.

Humbug has discovered he is volcanically intolerant of Hills Science Diet dry food. After few days of mess and droopy, dehydrated kitty, he is now on the mend, and on an even more expensive brand. We haven't pinned down the ingredient responsible but the likeliest suspects are linseeds, which would also account for the time he hunted and ate one of those suet bird feeders with similar results.

Leicester has killed a collared dove and at least one mouse. He is very proud. He also enjoys being back on Royal Canin brand kitten food. He was fine on Science Diet, but he didn't like it much.

Teen monkeys spent 2 days at a music workshop with other members of the Cambridge Youth Orchestra, and visiting musicians from City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, where they improvised and played pieces based on bits of Rachmaninov's 2nd symphony. It was dead impressive.

We all played Carcassonne with [livejournal.com profile] bugshaw .  It was lots of fun, but monkeys seem to need 2-3 times as long to finish a game as it says on the packet.  Must remember this for future planning.

Speedy has finally gone into hibernation.  Probably on Oct 26th.

Tomorrow we set out for Sussex, coming back on Sunday pm.  This will be the last proper trip in the old car.  We collect the new one on Friday 5th.
woolymonkey: (Default)
Up
Speedy came out of hibernation yesterday and pottered about the garden snacking on lettuce.

Out
Kittens had their first venture outdoors--briefly because they haven't had all their shots yet.
Monkey boys are on their way to Peterborough Cathedral to play Malcolm Arnold's A Grand, Grand Overture for 3 Vacuum Cleaners, 1 Floor Polisher, 4 Rifles and Orchestra with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Youth Orchestra. No, they haven't rehearsed, but the concert isn't until 5.

In
Lots of lovely house guests, especially [livejournal.com profile] heavens_hellcat and family. Hellcats and monkeys combined have a boy born for every major Windows release: 95, 98, 2000, and XP. (We didn't bother with Vista.)

Down
Have succumbed to recurrent lergy that's doing the rounds. Thought I'd shaken it off, but it's back in force today. Thank goodness for kind monkey grandparents who are delivering the teen monkeys to Peterborough right now so all [livejournal.com profile] musique_monkey and I have to do is turn up in time for the concert.

up!

Mar. 17th, 2009 11:43 am
woolymonkey: (Default)
Back in mid-October, when I wasn't really paying attention, Speedy the tortoise put himself to bed.

On Sunday, a little hole opened up and we saw his nose and (closed) eye, like so:

15-03-09 nose

Yesterday, he was like this:

16-03-09 tentative

And today...

17-03-09 up

He's eating a bit already and moving all of 8 inches from his burrow, which is more than he usually manages in the first week out of his nice box in the shed. I reckon he prefers to look after his own hibernation. Now we have a tortoise-proof garden and don't anticipate moving house for many years, I'm inclined to let him do just that. But I'll go on taking photos of where he buries himself and posting them here. I'd never have spotted him on Monday if I hadn't checked October's pic.




woolymonkey: (Default)
Speedy, the tortoise, has been too quick for me. Before I could put him in a nice box in the shed, he made his own arrangements in the garden. Partly in case I need to find him before spring, here's where he went. (Lower left, where they soil looks crumbly.)



At the time, a couple of weeks ago, we were enjoying a warm sunny autumn and Speedy was still (relatively) frisky. Normally, if I put him in his box before November, he just tips it over and climbs out again, so I was amazed to find he'd put himself to bed in mid-October.

But seeing what the weather's been like the last couple of days, I reckon he knew what he was doing.




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