Despite its location next to the heat lamp, the water in the pond was never very warm. This might have deterred Herman from entering the pond, but the edge provided a unique challenge for him. As he wound his way around his home in the afternoons, Herman would walk down the ramp and then scale the wall to land next to his grazing dish. He didn’t always land gracefully, but that didn’t bother him. Graceful wasn’t a word used to describe tortoises anyway.
Herman was slowly growing more fond of the plastic cacti in his home. At first he had been put off by the fact that you couldn’t eat them. What was the point of cacti you couldn’t eat? Herman had some experience with edible cactus pads and found them to be quite delectable, so plastic cacti were bound to be a disappointment. However, he had started to notice that the plastic cacti helped break the monotony of his wanderings around his home. The days were getting longer now and Herman was inclined to take a walk in the afternoon. But one can only go so far in a home encased by glass. And so, as Herman wound his way through the items in his home, he found himself alternating between going through and going around his cacti.
Herman was hungry. He was always hungry after a bath. The combination of waking up and getting warm always stirred his appetite and his post-bath wander generally involved looking for food.
Normally Lucy gave Herman a wide berth, but today he walked directly towards her and so her curiosity got the better of her. As she leaned down to give Herman a good sniff, Lucy was promptly admonished by the guardian.
Lucy sighed. Although Herman had a vaguely familiar and somewhat tantalizing smell, this was not the first time she’d been told to leave Herman alone.
Herman had been oblivious to the interaction between Lucy and the guardian. His focus was entirely on finding food, and having reached something that looked promising, he took an exploratory bite.
Startled by the pinch on her paw, Lucy immediately took to higher ground. Herman was also startled by the sudden disappearance of Lucy, but he tried not to show it. This was not the first time an exploratory bite had resulted in food going missing.
After spending time basking undisturbed on the warm rock in the world outside his home, Herman decided that Lucy made a pretty good companion. She didn’t pick him up unexpectedly or bath him or point cameras in his face. Occasionally her barking would startle him from a nap, but Herman found that he was getting used to that.
There were a number of ways that Herman could tell that the weekend had arrived. For one, there was no beeping to accompany the turning on of the daylight lamp in his home. Also, morning baths were less rushed and generally followed by explorations of the world outside his home. Normally he preferred to walk along the hardwood floor, due to his familiarity with wood, but to his great delight he discovered that some of the rocks radiated heat. At first he thought he was imaging things, and found himself wandering in circles. The temperature wasn’t consistent, so some rocks would be warm and some rocks would be cold. However, once his nervousness over being exposed in the world outside his home subsided, he was able to concentrate on where the warmth seemed to be the greatest and settled there until Lucy started to make him uneasy.
It had taken some time for Herman to get used to bath time, bathing and bath towels. And although he felt that he was doing much better, he still felt a bit shy when it was time for his post-bath wander around the world outside his home.
It had been almost two weeks since Herman had returned to the guardian with the camera and the dog. In addition to not missing the barking, Herman found that he hadn’t missed the camera either.
Herman suspected that the nutritional value of Belgian endive, which had only the barest hint of colour, was probably not very high. However, he enjoyed it and felt that as long as he mixed it with more hearty leaves like romaine, kale and escarole he’d be fine. Besides, it was January and everyone, even little Hermann tortoises, needed a treat on the longest days of winter.
While talking his afternoon stroll in the world beyond his home, Herman found himself drawn to dark corners and walking underneath furniture. Unfortunately, there was a downside to this. For reasons he never quite understood, the guardian always seemed to feel that a bath was required afterwards.
After a weekend full of excitement, Herman was happy that the only thing to do he had to do on Monday was eat.