A fine and respectable elderly gentleman is living with us.
He is more than 85 years old and yet when faced with a slice of mango can be really quite spritely.
My friend Clare, teacher and photographer extraordinaire, has lent him to us whilst her house and garden are undergoing their final renovations. I let him out of his "paddock" on the lawn every couple of days and he moseys around supplementing his diet and climbing the mountain of top soil we now have after digging up some of our lawn to extend the patio space.
I watch him like a hawk (not in order to catch and eat him, you understand) as the pressure of losing an 85-year old pet is surely much greater than, say, a 3 month old hamster.
He always looks rather forlorn when I head back indoors after chatting to him a while but I wonder if that is my imagination.
However, he does come when I call him and really is lovely to see every day.
The other day I was digging in the garden and he came over and spent ages looking at his reflection in the spade! I wondered of he knew he was a tortoise or if he thinks he's a graceful gazelle and was staring pityingly at the slow creature in the spade.
Frank gets terribly excited to let me know if Timmy (for that's his name) is doing something; in fact doing anything:
"Mummy, Mummy! Timmy! He is EATING SOME LETTUCE!!!!!!!"
He is not an exciting pet like Hedwig the owl or a unicorn might be BUT I find myself pondering this tortoise's approach to life and thinking of our struggle with diabetes.
Numbers have been consistently in the teens recently with a few great days and a few hypos thrown in and like the tortoise we plod along tweaking here, supplementing there, nibbling a bit and hoping to reach 85 years and counting.
Bring on the lettuce!