I've watched with interest as our local park undergoes major redevelopment of its playing fields, gardens and ponds. One element of the works that has seemed a bit sad is the very public eradication of the turtle population in the ponds. Of course the turtles obviously had to go -- they're interlopers, the stuff of urban legends, released from tiny plastic turtle pools to grow to vast proportions in the sewers until the day they crawl out in their legions and take over London. Day of the Turtles. It's a health and safety catastrophe waiting to happen.

Although turtles eat the eggs of ducks and moorhens and generally bugger up the natural biodiversity of the park, I always thought they looked like friendly souls, and hoped they'd be rehoused somewhere nice -- like the Galapagos maybe. Because even if they were plotting the overthrow of mammalian society, they were doing it quietly, without a lot of extraneous arm-waving. I admired them for that.

Today, as I walked round the ponds, I noted that foliage has begun to grow on the newly-created banks, so it wasn't looking quite so bare. A heron stood in its usual place on the island. Ducklings swam.


And then I saw a head -- a little Loch Ness-monster-shaped head sticking out of the water. Near the bank. Four legs swimming.

A turtle!

I felt unaccountably happy. Rejoice, people of North London! Celebrate the outsider, the underdog, the persecuted, the teeming masses yearning to breathe free!  The ethnic cleansing of turtles has failed and a new generation of turtledom arises from the murky depths to swim another day!

Insert your own metaphors here.

BlogMeg Rosoff6 Comments