'I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free'
Hurray! We're coming to play!
Lenin was born Владимир Ильич Ульянов around Eastertime in 1870 in Simbirsk, renamed Ulyanovsk, a town on the Volga. His adventures between then and his taking up residence in my garden are known in part but there are lacunae in the some century and a half that have passed since. Particularly obscure are what have come to be known as 'the tortoise years'.He was discovered while on a long march through Italy on a busy road by a local politician on her way to the town hall who, knowing that Rosa Luxemburg was already settled in the garden suggested he join her. Rosa has not been seen for two years now and may have gone permanently underground or fled.In tortoise years I couldn't begin to guess sensibly but Lenin is a very large tortoise.Ulyanovsk is currently in the news as the airbase hub for evacuating US troops and their things from Afghanistan - which is popular with the locals but unpopular with the Russian left. (On looking at a map it seemed so far from Afghanistan it was hard to imagine how they were going to get there to be evacuated at all.) It must be a cunning plan; I wouldn't put anything past that tortoise.
A mate used to have two massive terrapins that were christened Dylan and Hendrix - years back when they were the size of 50p bits. We suggested Demis and Mama Cass might be more appropriate, given their size and voracious appetites, but he demurred. As he would feed them by dangling strips of meat into their vivarium, it was singularly unwise of a young Quantity Surveyor called Tim to peer closely at them. Dylan leapt, and fastened his beak on the proferred nose, landing on the sofa some 2m away as the startled young man jerked back in exquisite pain, and looking as miffed as a red eared Terrapin can. The QS still bears a large curved scar on his nose that has grown more prominent with age. I've no idea how he explains it when we witnesses are absent. Thank goodness tortoises prefer lettuce.
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