The dogs have missed out on a few long walks lately because the heavy rain has turned the campo into a quagmire, but it was fine and warm over the weekend, so on Tuesday we decided to give it a try. We drive to the edge of the campo and park up, and, as soon as we open the boot and release their car anchors, the dogs shoot off up the hills and just enjoy running free.They mostly stay in sight and soon come back when we call them, but they often bring us presents such as an old, bleached goat skull, or other such treats! So it was no surprise when Chico came bounding back with what appeared to be a large, dark rock in his mouth. I told him to drop it which he did, and it was then I realised that he had found a tortoise! I know they live wild in the national park at Cabo de Gato, but I hadn't realised there were any on the campo near us. Chico had dropped it hard from a fair height and I was worried that he may have damaged it. I couldn't decide whether it was dead, still in hibernation or just hiding from shock. I couldn't just leave it there because the dogs would have played with it again, so I put it in my shoulder bag and brought it home with me. It still showed no sign of life so I made it as comfortable as possible in our cat carrier and provided some lettuce leaves and water, and left it in peace. As children Mum always insisted that all our toys, dolls, teddies etc had names, and that has stuck so I tend to give a name to all the livestock that comes my way, even if it is only a temporary visitor, so the tortoise became Henry for a day. I was very pleased when, an hour or so later, Henry emerged from his shell and started walking around. He didn't mind me holding him but he wasn't very keen on the lettuce. I guess he is used to a rather rougher diet out in the wild. Anyway, I knew they are becoming scarce and are protected, so I couldn't keep him, and yesterday afternoon I drove back to the campo without the dogs, and set him free back in his own territory. I have since been warned that, however good my intentions were, had the Guardia Civil seen me with him, I would have been given a hefty fine, because they would have thought "Perhaps she is going to make tortoise soup"! So it is just as well that he is safely back home. He was my first wild tortoise, and I am thrilled to have seen him.
I had some exciting news this week concerning my craft. As you know, Jean and I regularly make Artist Trading Cards, small pieces of original artwork, which we swap with other like-minded crafters, via the internet, craft magazines, and with personal friends throughout the world. We both make them for a magazine called Craft Stamper which we subscribe to. It is the highlight of my month when I see it sticking out of our mail box. In the latest issue they printed a selection of ATCs sent in on the theme "Monochrome", and one of mine was chosen as the winner of the Editor's choice. I win a small prize of some rubber stamps and a book of miniature images to use on cards, and my ATC is featured in the magazine. It is always a big confidence booster to see your work appreciated by someone in the business, and fun to see your name in print too, so now I shall be watching the post again for a little parcel to arrive. I'd better get on with making the next set now.