I have been spending all my time searching for George. He has disappeared from the garden.
I know my summer pursuit of ridding the garden of weeds was not looked upon favourably by my chelonian friend but I didn't think he'd take it to such an extreme.
In all honesty, I am incredibly upset. I thought he would be with my family into the 22nd Century and that in itself is really quite an odd thing to consider.
We have spent a lot of time searching the surrounding gardens. I had thought our garden escape proof and it had been for the last three years. I have doubts that the small gap I did find, behind the drainpipe from the conservatory, was big enough for his not inconsiderable shelled frame but it is the only one there is.
Posters have been stuck in local and not so local shops. Petshops, vets, rehoming centres, UK Tortoise Missing have all been rang. Notices have been posted on various tortoise-related parts of the internet.
All my effort has not totally been in vain. It had been suggested to me, by more than one person, that it is quite possible that George has dug down into the soil to hibernate. I am very much hoping this is true and that in March, I'll be happily able to report that he has re-appeared at the back door requesting strawberries.
The chickens are indifferent to the loss of their garden companion, he did use to chase them and made for a few ruffled feathers. The rabbit on the other hand, was more sympathetic and sat patiently while I told him the news and stroked his ears.
I am hoping the spring will herald the return of our moving stone.