From my desk ~ Chelonian Tales with a Difference

This is a post about two chelonians ~ Torty and Myrtle.

Torty is brown; Myrtle is purple.

Torty is a real chelonian.  Myrtle is an imaginary one.

Though time and reality and colour separate Torty and Myrtle, both are bound by the restorative  powers of compassion, kindness, and caring friendship.

Torty is New Zealand’s oldest survivor of World War One.  The story goes that, in March 1916, she was wandering near a bombed hospital in Salonika, Greece, when she was run over by a French gun wagon. A young New Zealand soldier, a medic on the hospital ship Marama, saw the accident and dug out the tiny tortoise from the wheel ruts. Torty’s shell had been gouged by the iron wheels of the wagon, and she had lost some toes. Her rescuer, Stewart Little, took her back to the Marama,  dressed her wounds, and cared for her. When the hospital ship left Salonika for New Zealand, Torty went to.  She became a favourite with the wounded, bedridden soldiers. On arrival in New Zealand, Stewart Little smuggled her ashore and cared for her for the next 60 years, until his death. Torty eventually found herself living in a retirement home with Stewart’s daughter-n-law, Elspeth, where she brought joy to residents and visitors alike.  When Elspeth died in 2015, Torty was given a new home with Stewart’s grandsons.

The story of Torty is told in Jennifer Beck’s  engaging  “Torty and the Soldier”,

Torty and the Soldier by Jennifer Beck

the last part of which reads:

“Stewart Little’s military service did not distinguish him from thousands of other Kiwi soldiers who served in WW1 in different ways. However, his simple act of kindness in a foreign land has provided the last living link with those who lost their lives in that war a hundred years ago.”

Our other little chelonian,  Myrtle, is an unusual hue for a turtle. As I said at the beginning, she’s purple; a rich, deep, decidedly purple, purple.

She is a fictional character, first created by author, Cynthia Reyes, 27 years ago,  to help her little daughter manage bullying at school,  and her ‘burden’ of  difference. Thanks to encouragement from Cynthia’s family, Myrtle has come out from her private shell and into the public sphere. She’s now the  star of  her own book.

Myrtle the Purple Turtle by Cynthia Reyes

In “Myrtle the Purple Turtle”, we meet a joyful, happy young turtle who loves her ‘turtley’ life until one day she bumps into a rude, bully of a turtle, who questions her authenticity ~ She’s purple! Turtles aren’t  purple! How could Myrtle be a turtle? Upset, bewildered, and hurting, Myrtle tries to un -purple herself, by rubbing her shell in the green grass. In the process  of trying to change her true self, her world is literally turned upside down. Lying on her back, stranded, Myrtle is finally rescued by  her three friends, Hurtle, Snapper and Gertie. They stand beside her, turn her over, and gently restore Myrtle to her feet. And, with kind words and compassion, the three friends help Myrtle understand that  we are not all the same, and therein  lies the wonder of each of us.  “We are all different from each other!” (declares) Myrtle, happy once again.

“We are all  different from each other!” #loveyourshell ( Can you spot all the chelonians? )

In  turtle terms, Myrtle’s life is only just beginning. I hope her longevity will rival that of a real-life turtle. I hope, like Torty, she will bring pleasure and comfort to generations. Torty’s legacy is one of loving kindness, reaching above and beyond the horror of war. May Myrtle’s legacy be a firm, friendly, loving stand against the ugliness of bullying, as well as against the demeaning of difference.

Both Torty and Myrtle are beautifully illustrated: ” Torty and the Soldier” by Fifi Colston; “Myrtle the Purple Turtle” by Jo Robinson .

And just because I can: –

As a tail-piece to these Chelonian Tales, let me remind you of the original, purple Myrtle. She was not a turtle. In the 19th century she became so popular (supposedly) that many people gave her name to their daughters. She’s a true beauty and she was the very first  purple Myrtle I  ever met.

Here  is her portrait by Robert O’Brien http://www.treeguides.com/ who is the excellent illustrator of the Texas A & M Forest Service’s   Trees of Texas resource/identification guide http://texastreeid.tamu.edu/content/TreeDetails/?id=55  ( Bob O’ Brien kindly gave me permission to use his illustration for this blog post. ) Myrtle’s  full name is Crape Myrtle, or Crepe Myrtle, Lagerstroemia indica. She’s hardy and resilient and, although she is a native of China ( and Korea ), she is the Official State Shrub of Texas.

Crepe Myrtle by Robert O’Brien (with permission)http://texastreeid.tamu.edu/content/TreeDetails/?id=55

 

One last note: if you ever see the stories of Torty and Myrtle side by side, look at the colour schemes in each book and consider what they might mean, and how they make you feel about each story. Colour matters. In its difference, and its harmonies, it adds beauty and meaning to our world.

 

© silkannthreades

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158 thoughts on “From my desk ~ Chelonian Tales with a Difference

  1. Dina

    What a lovely post! This is absolutely new to me, Ann. I habve never heard about Torty, but both books are on my list to look for on Amazon. Wishing you a lovely weekend, warm greetings from Norway, Dina x

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Greetings to you, Dina. I hope you and the Book Fayries have an opportunity to read Myrtle and Torty. Selma and Siri have very good judgement; I would love to know what they think about these two wonderful stories. 🙂 🙂

      Reply
  2. Born To Organize

    Hello Gallivanta, I finally carved out some time to research both of these books. I even found myself on Cynthia Reye’s daughters blog! I went straight to the Amazon link and I’ve ordered 20 copies to donate to Sacred Hearth Community Services book drive. Myrtle the Turtle is the perfect book! Thanks so much for sharing the story.

    Sadly, I could not find the Torty book, but since it’s offered via Scholastic, that might be why its not online. I’ll check with one of my teacher friends.

    xo

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      A heartfelt message from Cynthia “Wow, Alys. I am honoured by your action. (Or as our mutual friend Gallivanta would say, “I’m turtally honoured.”) Thank you VERY much.”

      Reply
  3. Robbie

    🙂 I always enjoy stopping by your blog, you never disappoint! You are one of the “wise” bloggers. You share things that make a difference in this world. Make me think. I did purchase Cynthia’s book for my 4 yr old grandson. I hope to ship a copy to my other grandchildren in Sweden.
    I love the story about the old turtle run over by the army truck…just fascinating! I ride the Mississippi River from our town to some of the smaller river towns. Along the way, there is an area where the turtles ( soft and hard-shelled) sun on the rocks. This year, I have been stopping each ride to watch them sunbath. They are amazing creatures. We have to be very quiet as we approach the water’s edge for they “scoot” off the rocks quickly! There are many size ranges. I get a kick out of how they pile on top of each other as they sun-amazing creatures:-)

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you for your kind comment, Robbie. And I am so pleased you have bought Cynthia’s book for your grandchildren. My mother used to send books to my children when they were young. I had as much fun as the children did as we opened the package to see what Gran had sent this time.
      There was always something extra special about the books which Gran chose!

      The sun bathing turtles do sound amazing. It’s good that the Mississippi River is healthy enough to support them. Have you ever found a turtle in your garden?

      Reply
      1. Robbie

        sorry to respond so late to your comment. I have been away from blogging, just busy with aging parents and preschool grandchild:-) No never found any near my house. I am pretty far away from the shore line. I would love to live on the Mississippi River, but spring flooding is enough to make me stay near higher ground:-) I do have toads in my garden:-)

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Hmmm, higher ground sounds like a good idea in the circumstances. I don’t know about grandchildren but I do have aged parents; I know how much time is needed to care for them. 🙂 Sometimes if I am absent from my blog for a while it’s because I am on parental duty. As for toads, we had many of them in the garden of my childhood home. I didn’t care for them, especially when I accidentally stood on them with my barefoot.

        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Teehee! There’s always someone at the table who needs to be isolated at the far end, or put in a place where they can’t get up to mischief. I think the British Govt are now wondering how they are going to manage a Trump visit and his presence at their table.

  4. Boomdeeadda

    It’s a wonder how long these gentle beasts live. Imagine all they see and know in their long lives? Wonderful stories both. My friend, Kathryn lives in Mexico with upwards of 26 dogs, a cat and a turtle. If you’re on Instagram, you can visit @thelonelydogs for a boo. Friends of hers were moving and couldn’t take him with so with a giant heart and love for all animals, Kathryn is his new caregiver.
    On a trip to Maui two years ago, we were lucky enough to see a couple of giant turtles. One was snacking on kelp just off the shoreline where we were snorkelling. From a respectful distance, I was able to watch it float along, weightlessly enjoying life. What a treat!
    Being in Canada means no Crape Myrtle for us, but oh how I wish. We do enjoy the common lilac in spring, which smells heavenly, if only for a couple of weeks. They’re not much to look at after they bloom, but I’m happy to have two because they herald in spring with their brief beauty. Have a super-duper weekend this fine summer day 😀 (we’re enjoying a fine winter day with temps above 0 C….grande!) x Boomdee

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I would be perfectly content with lilac but, sadly, it’s not very common anymore. I see it occasionally in older gardens. I am not on instagram but I am pleased to hear about your amazing friend. A turtle, if it lives its usual long life, is more than a life time commitment for a carer. You would need to make provision for it in your will!

      Reply
  5. Pingback: A Botanist, A Politician, and a Sage | The Task at Hand

  6. Val

    What sweet stories. 🙂 I used to have tortoises as pets when I was a child and I know they have rather individual personalities (and, by the way, like to be tickled under their chins). I’m glad Torty was rescued and lived to a ripe old age. As for the purple one… my fave colour!

    Reply
  7. Sheila

    I love the WWI story. How inspiring to think of everything that Torty went through. I’m glad she found such a lovely family to live with for generations, and that’s amazing that she’s still out there inspiring others. That’s a great idea to pair the two stories like that. I’ll have to check them both out as Christmas presents for my nieces and nephews – thank you!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Glad you enjoyed the stories, Sheila. I am sure your nieces and nephews would enjoy them too. I didn’t suggest age groups for the books because I like to think that a good book appeals to any age group. That’s my adult point of view! I doubt a 12 year old would appreciate a book for a 6 year old, no matter how beautiful the book is.

      Reply
  8. Pingback: Purple Toenails and … Myrtle Becomes French? – Cynthia Reyes

  9. tableofcolors

    Lovely stories both of them, the true one and the fictional one but both just as applicable to our lives about the power of kindness. And yes, color is certainly very meaningful. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  10. restlessjo

    What a lovely post this is, Ann! I’m so sorry I’m so late getting here. I’m struggling with the Internet and life in the Algarve doesn’t seem to leave much time for blogging. I know a little of Cynthia’s story and the struggles she’s had, but I knew nothing of either of the turtles. Doesn’t life teach some amazing lessons? 🙂 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      My posts crawl along at a tortoise like pace, Jo, so you are welcome to take as much time as you like to get here! Especially when you are on holiday. And I am hardly speedy at reading blogs or answering comments, but, as we know, slow and steady wins the race! 🙂 🙂

      Reply
  11. anotherday2paradise

    I love the story of Torty. What a survivor she is. I’m assuming she’s still alive. 🙂 The story of Myrtle is wonderful and so inspiring. I’ll look for it on Amazon. Always searching for ideas for Christmas presents for the grandies. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      As far as I know, Torty is still alive and ageing well. And, yes, Myrtle would be a great Christmas gift. The story is inspiring, the colours are eye-popping, and the book feels so nice in my hands. The cover is lovely and silky smooth. I like small details like that. Torty’s pages and cover are lovely too but I think Myrtle would be just slightly easier for a child to hold and leaf through. Does Myrtle inspire you to create a story about the wonderful creatures in your backyard?

      Reply
      1. anotherday2paradise

        Thanks for the feedback. Funny you should ask me about being inspired to write a children’s book about my Backyardigans. One of my family FB friends asked me the same thing not even five minutes ago. 🙂

        Reply
  12. bitaboutbritain

    I have never heard of Torty’s story – it’s fabulous, for all sorts of reasons, and deserves to be more widely known. Ironically, I HAVE heard of Myrtle’s story, though it is fictional – and it’s such a blindingly good idea. Though of course acknowledging that children do bully, and this might be a nasty part of human nature, children are taught their prejudices by adults; so Myrtle can only have a positive message.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Torty’s story is indeed fabulous, and made all the more special by the fact that Torty is still alive. ( I know of another story of a tortoise who didn’t make it back to NZ, despite the love and care of his soldier friend.) And even though Myrtle is fictional, she seems almost real because her story came out of a child’s authentic experience. I love both stories. I am glad we have such talented writers and illustrators.

      Reply
  13. Tiny

    This is a wonderfully crafted post, Gallivanta! Two turtles, both bringing us joy and life lessons. I have the beautiful purple turtle in my hand…she will soon be wrapped in colorful purple Christmas paper for my older granddaughter 🙂 Can’t wait to read it again with her over the Holidays.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Tiny, thanks for the lovely image of a purple wrapped Myrtle. Even better, the image of you and your granddaughter sharing Myrtle time over the holidays. Splendid! I am starting to wonder if Myrtle will create a generation of littlies looking for purple turtles. 😀

      Reply
      1. Tiny

        That’s a thought! Mikayla may very well start looking for purple turtles…she is so interested in nature, and photography…at 7 🙂

        Reply
  14. cindy knoke

    Now I will never look at turtles the same way! What truly wonderful and moving stories to brighten my night. Gallivanta and Cynthia, two bloggers that demonstrate why I so love blogging! Hugs and gratitude to you both.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you for your lovely comment, Cindy, and for your support for my blog from its beginnings; 5 years ago now. Do turtles get to hang out at the Holler?

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      They truly radiate a gentle beauty, and a sense of sweet happiness. 🙂 Cynthia and her daughter have been doing some interviews/reading for Myrtle the Purple Turtle. I can’t wait to hear them. Cynthia has a lovely voice.

      Reply
  15. shoreacres

    Now that I’m done following all the interesting coincidences I found in your post, I’ve gone back and read again about the two chelonians: a word I didn’t know. Each tale speaks in its own way of love and compassion, which makes their linkage both natural and enlightening.

    There’s no question that bullying — the use of power to intimidate — has become an increasing problem. The “neighborhood bully” of my childhood has grown up, and now populates everything from social media to the corridors of power in Washington: not to mention the film industry and the arts community. Unfortunately, I believe society has had a hand in nurturing bullies and increasing their numbers, even as we grouse about their presence among us. Every step in the opposite direction is a good one, especially when the bearers of the message are as cute as this pair!

    As for those coincidences, one was the name of the rescuer: Stewart Little. E.B. White’s first children’s novel was titled Stuart Little. As it turns out, there’s no connection, but it certainly was fun to be reminded of a mouse by a turtle.

    The other connection has to do with the crepe myrtle. The first time I read the post, I missed your mention of its roots in China and Korea, but I was completely astonished to see that it was the state shrub of Texas. I thought, “But it’s not a native! What the…!?!” Well, now I know the story, and it’s not only interesting, it has a connection to the grass identification class I took, and a post I wrote several years ago. Now, you’ve given me another topic to write about — if I keep following you around, I’ll never run out!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Linda, I, too, thought about Stuart Little as soon as I read the words Stewart Little. Our Stewart will never be as famous as Stuart but, all the same, he’s special because he’s ours (New Zealand’s).
      As for bullying, turtles have themselves been subjected to a lot of bullying/abuse. When my daughter was at Middle School in Cairo, the 8th graders were asked to care for some turtles which had been rescued by the Egyptian police. The Testudo kleinmanni is highly endangered and it was delightful to see the way the youngsters responded to the challenge of caring for these little creatures. Here is a student report from that time http://haegong.tripod.com/tortoise/1tortoise.htm I have since read that the first captive turtle at Cairo American College was born in 1999.

      And I am completely curious to know the connection between the grass identification class and the crepe myrtle!

      I don’t want to put another link in this comment ( it may be sent to spam) but two other things I discovered while doing this post are the turtlehead flower (see my comment to Lavinia Ross) and
      KHELONE (Chelone), the nymph of Mount Khelydorea (Rich in Tortoises) in Arkadia (southern Greece) who was turned into a tortoise for refusing to attend an important wedding. There seems to be some evidence that ‘be it ever so humble, it’s home’ began with Chelone.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, Mary. Your beautiful roses made my day, too. Most of my roses are miniature ones, so I won’t get the luscious blooms shown in your photos.

      Reply
  16. Clare Pooley

    This is such a beautifully written post, Anne! I received my copy of ‘Myrtle’ a few days ago and am trying to decide who to pass it on to. It is such a comforting story for those of us who have endured bullying.
    I was so charmed by your story of Torty! I love to think of all the people Torty has met in his long life and all the pleasure he has brought them.

    Reply
  17. Lavinia Ross

    This is a moving, and very beautiful post, Gallivanta, tying the story of a turtle saved by a simple act of kindness to Myrtle the Purple Turtle, and even the crepe myrtle tree! Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Lavinia, Cynthia’s Myrtle story revitalized my interest in turtles. I am glad you enjoyed my post. As for the crepe myrtle; I always feel a need to add a flower to my posts, so crepe myrtle seemed the perfect choice, as I was familiar with it. However, I could have chosen the turtlehead flower https://www.thespruce.com/chelone-plants-1316023 Have you ever seen the turtlehead flower? It doesn’t grow where you live now but you may have seen it elsewhere.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thanks for the link, Steve. I am not sure if I am supposed to be looking at a particular picture or not but I did find a link which eventually lead me to this “The doll experiment involved a child being presented with two dolls. Both of these dolls were completely identical except for the skin and hair color. One doll was white with yellow hair, while the other was brown with black hair.[25] The child was then asked questions inquiring as to which one is the doll they would play with, which one is the nice doll, which one looks bad, which one has the nicer color, etc. The experiment showed a clear preference for the white doll among all children in the study.[26] These findings exposed internalized racism in African-American children, self-hatred that was more acute among children attending segregated schools” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_and_Mamie_Clark

      The doll experiment seemed pertinent to the Myrtle the Purple Turtle book which had its genesis in a little girl’s experience with her beloved black doll, Quentin.

      Reply
      1. Cynthia Reyes

        Wow. You just sent me back to an earlier time, back when, as parents, Hamlin and I decided to give our children a diversity of dolls. One of the reasons was that very study that you cite. We wanted our kids to grow up with different role models, including their dolls. So I know you understand how it affected us when one daughter rejected her dark-skinned doll, and we couldn’t figure out why. Lord — parenting is tough enough without these other complications!

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Well, blow me down, I might have guessed you would be in the know about this experiment. I am a Gallivanta-come-lately to it. Your comment raises an interesting point re what we might want for our kids, and what we may be able to get. I am having a wee smile here because I remember that we were in New Delhi when my daughter was entering her doll phase. The only dolls I could find were blond Barbies. Bizarre when I think about it now. She got her blond Barbies and she loved their long hair which was so much easier to comb than her own! Over the years, the Barbies took on many roles; even characters in renditions of Shakespeare in the bathtub. (I think)

        1. Steve Schwartzman

          Something just occurred to me about the original experiments and the re-creation in the television clip: by asking “Which is the pretty doll?” and “Which is the ugly doll?” the questioner is implying that exactly one doll falls into each category, and is therefore pushing the children into a dichotomy. I think it would be fairer to have three or more shades of dolls and to ask things like “Tell me all the dolls you think look good” or “Put the dolls in order from the one you like best to the one you like least.”

        2. Gallivanta Post author

          As a person who likes to be presented with options, I probably would have struggled to give an answer in this experiment. Or perhaps I would have said, both or neither, or I don’t know. It really would be good to know if anyone, apart from ABC, has replicated the experiment or carried it out with a slightly different approach as you suggested. A lot of good experiments with children were done in the BBC series Child of our Times but I don’t know if the doll experiment was done. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0072bk8

  18. Cynthia Reyes

    What a story you have woven! Here’s to the Torty’s and Myrtles of this world, whatever form they take. What a great story about Torty! And not only did you coin the word “turtally”, you have now turtally introduced to us a new word, chelonian. Who was to know?
    I have the feeling that your brain is this vast territory, much of it uncharted by others, and that you offer us glimpses of its verges and byways every so often through your blog. Which is turtally marvellous.
    Thank you for including Myrtle in this delightful post. #loveyourshell!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      And thank YOU for creating Myrtle and sharing her with the wide world. Torty travelled far but I think Myrtle may already have travelled further, both physically and virtually. These turtles, eh? They are adventurers. As for my brain, it’s mostly a maze in which I get lost. Occasionally I find my way out and say something useful. 😀

      Reply
  19. Art and Soul Space

    Gallivanta! You are a beautiful writer. (I feel I’m repeating myself, but it’s true). Two terrific turtles. I think you are clever to weave the stories together. I’ve not stopped and thought before about turtles outliving human generations and travelling the globe. Never occurred to me. Inspiring!

    Reply
  20. Clanmother

    Isn’t it interesting that acts of kindness seem to have perpetual life that brings light to dark places and showers benevolence to all creatures within it sphere. A wonderful post that reminds me that kindness changes the world. Many thanks for giving joy to my day.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      It is interesting, Clanmother. There is such soft power in kindness. And thank you for liking so much of my post and its many wonderful comments. Like Myrtle, it makes my day to be liked and accepted by my community. 🙂

      Reply
  21. Mél@nie

    another super-post, Miss Gallivanta… creative, interesting, attractive!!! ❤ you seem to write with the ink of your heart… you could've lived during the Renaissance period, or during "les Lumières" in France… 🙂
    * * *
    @"We are all different from each other!” – yes, indeed… et tant mieux: vive la différence!!! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Aww, what a lovely comment, Lady M. If I am passionate about a subject, I do write from my heart. Which is why when I was drafting this story, I had to stop and rest for a while by writing my previous post. 🙂

      Reply
  22. utesmile

    What delightful books with great messages. Thanks for putting it together so wonderfully. It reminded me of another turtle, well tortoise story from Roald Dahl: Esio Trot, sure you know it?

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      LOL, that you did; my precious little blue backed Egyptian turtle. Your wooden one I appropriated for the photo shoot. Can you see the other little tortoise tucked away in the greenery? You gave me that too, I think.

      Reply
  23. KerryCan

    Who would think that humble, earth-bound turtles could teach us so much?! And such important lessons. I didn’t know about Torty and love the story–how old is he now??

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Kerry, I am amazed,too, about how much they can teach us. Estimates of Torty’s age range from 120 years to over 200 years. No one seems to know for sure, but there’s no doubt she’s over a hundred years old. And Torty has done well to cope with our New Zealand climate, which is hardly Mediterranean.

      Reply
  24. GP Cox

    I’ve never heard either of these stories but I’m glad I read them here, Ann. You knew I would be drawn to Torty’s tale, but you interwove Myrtle perfectly with him and helping a child to cope with bullying is very important. We are all different, but so much alike.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      GP, Torty is a great war story. Torty actually features in an important war exhibition at our Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa https://www.tepapa.govt.nz/visit/whats-on/exhibitions/gallipoli-scale-our-war/gallipoli-scale-our-war-exhibition-information She is a wonderful testament to kindness and our deep need to be kind even in the midst of war. With Myrtle I hope we can encourage kindness and compassion in our communities, and discourage the bullying and power mongering which often set us up for conflicts; very serious conflicts.

      Reply
      1. GP Cox

        Ditto, Ann, most definitely! I spent some time on your link though (loved the tiny penguin from Tahiti Bay and the 1878 flood, but didn’t spot anything about Torty.

        Reply
        1. GP Cox

          That worked great, Ann, Thank you. You get a look at the actual Torty. Those displays at the museum are so life-like!! It is incredible. Give you chills.

        2. Gallivanta Post author

          Oh that’s great, GP. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to see the exhibition in person but I have heard it’s overwhelmingly life-like,and really does give the chills.

      2. Born To Organize

        This is the loveliest of posts. I love children’s books, animals, hopefulness and kindness and its all here. I should make an effort to get both of these books for our Little Free Library.

        You are a lovely writer. It’s always a pleasure to stop by.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          I do hope you can get the books for your Little Free Library, Alys. Are the children in your neighbourhood familiar with real tortoises? The last time I saw a live tortoise was in Egypt about 19 years ago, and before that in Botswana more than 33 years ago. They really are story book creatures for me; not something I encounter on a regular basis in real life.

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Torty’s story is remarkable. It also has its funny side. Some years ago his carer, Elspeth, became worried about Torty’s status in NZ, because NZ has such strict laws about bringing animals into the country. She contacted the local policeman with her concerns. The policeman was also concerned initially but when Elspeth explained that Torty had been in NZ since 1916, he realized there was no need to worry.
      As for the Lagerstroemia, I wish I had one, Amelia. I did have a young one in my garden in Kathmandu. And, in my childhood home in Fiji, we had a beautiful Pride of India (Lagerstroemia speciosa) which was large enough to hold the tree house which our father built for us.

      Reply
  25. Nath @ BEAUTYCALYPSE

    Such a heartwarming post to find in my reader first thing in the morning. I enjoy your writing so much, A.! The writing, the images, and the themes you choose are such a delight. All the love and all the hugs 💚💚💚

    Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          I do hope so. Happy Halloween to you. Your Halloween make up/outfits are as superb as ever. I laughed over the eyebrows. They reminded me of the time my daughter showed me the curly eyebrows of the Vinsmoke family in the Manga, One Piece. Eyebrows can tell a story all on their own.

        1. Gallivanta Post author

          I did, Tish, I did. The stitching didn’t turn out as brilliantly as I had imagined it would but it’s good enough. The garments live on for another day, week, year…who knows for how long. 🙂

        2. Tish Farrell

          Well done, you. I did a spot of similar mending myself this week – a much loved cardi that I thought had had its chips, but not so. A bit of titivating and it’s ready for winter wearing.

  26. Juliet

    What a beautiful post, Gallivanta, about two very different turtles. I learned a new word from you too: chelonian. The story of Torty is very touching, and Myrtle’s tale is one that will help a certain little girl that I know. Thank you – I enjoy the myrtle add-on as well.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Juliet, I wanted a word which would cover both turtles and tortoises, so Chelonia or Chelonian seemed a good choice. And with its Greek origin ( Greek khelōnē ‘tortoise’) it seemed particularly suited to the little Greek/Kiwi, Torty. As you no doubt know, in New Zealand, and in the UK, Myrtle would be called a tortoise, because she is land-based. For us, turtles are sea creatures. But, by whatever name we know her, Myrtle is lovely, and I am happy you think her story would help your mokopuna.

      Reply
  27. thecontentedcrafter

    What a beautifully crafted post to read as I finish my time on-line today Gallivanta. Two uplifting turtle stories and a beautiful tree, all bound together by names and interwoven with fabulous colour . I want to read both books. And of course I agree about colour and how we use it and relate to it . I know I am fortunate because my world is so rich in colour 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Pauline, I am thinking about your rich, colourful life, and smiling that this post has added to it. Torty may me available at your local library. I bought it to give to my mother but haven’t been able to part with it, yet. I suspect the same will happen when I have a physical copy of Myrtle in my hands. I won’t want to part with it.

      Reply

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