At this time of year in Rome, it’s traditional to pair the first broad beans with pecorino
Our rental agreement came with all the usual clauses, but also a verbal one: take care of the tortoise on the terrace. This unexpected role has brought me joy. I had no idea how fast a tortoise could move in the presence of watermelon, or that the movement would be a lolloping scamper. However, it has also caused great anxiety. At least once a day, I can’t find the tortoise (on our 5m x 5m terrace) or need to scare off a seagull with the wingspan of a lamp-post.
This anxiety peaked during hibernation, which began in early November and seemed never to end. And I’m clearly not the only one: start typing “tortoise hibernating” into Google, and before you hit the letter “o”, the words “or dead” appear. I spent the whole of February and half of March worrying that the tortoise, named Secret Agent by my son, was no longer with us in body, only shell. Then, one day, he strolled to the middle of the terrace, stopping to sunbathe as if nothing had happened. Relief was soon displaced by further anxiety when he showed no interest in eating, ignoring every leaf or slice of green apple.
Read more: theguardian.com