turtles and turpins

I have become a little obsessed by our pond.   Back in January when we moved in to Our Towers it looked like this:

(That’s a still from a video I took because the queen of before and after photos forgot to take any garden before-s.  Grrr)

And now it looks like this:

There’s still a few lights attached to wires to remove, but we’ve not worked out if they are live yet and apparently cutting through them – as I did with one or two – is not a particularly sensible way of finding this out.

When we had spring and summer last week I took to sitting on the wall at the end of the day with a cup of tea / glass of wine (dependent on the chaos levels for the day) watching the tadpoles and newts and…  Well, that’s when I saw him.  I called my Dad as he’s the closest person I know to a pond expert to ask:

‘Dad.  I think I just saw a turtle in my pond.  Could I have seen a turtle in my pond?’

Dad confirmed that while unlikely, the previous house owner could have ‘rehomed’ an unwanted pet in the pond.  And yes, a turtle did eat tadpoles.

And now I had a big problem as the turtle was small.  Too small to not be a baby.  Which would mean somewhere in the depths of our very deep pond, there were probably two parent turtles.  And they could be huge.  And if a baby turtle could eat tadpoles, giant ones would practically be man eaters (this was my thought process, Dad stopped being part of the conversation around ‘tadpoles’.  Mum just laughed a lot at me.)

That night I actually had a nightmare about the giant killer turtles in the pond.  There was only one thing for it:  I had to catch them.  The next evening after work, armed with a net, a bucket and a glass of wine (it was a Friday and it had been one of those weeks) I stood guard over the pond.

(It’s not a good look, but I wanted to prove I really did).

And you know what?  I caught the bugger!  And…um….it turns out it wasn’t a turtle.  Or a turpin as Himself kept referring to it.  And it was quite a lot smaller than I’d thought:

But you can kind of see why I thought what I thought, can’t you?

I called Dad again:

‘It’s more turpin than turtle’ I informed him before describing what dad told me was a pond beetle.  Ooopsie.  BUT, pond beetles eat tadpoles too, so I couldn’t put him back.  And I couldn’t kill him; it wasn’t his fault he was an evil tadpole munching beast.  Dad advised locating an empty looking pond.

Our next door neighbours have a pond.  And they don’t have tadpoles.  And they are also on holiday.  And my net is really quite long…

I’m not going to admit to anything, but the tadpole munching turpin has a lovely new home.  And our tadpoles are all looking a lot happier :o)

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