Sondar The Treen.

Hey.

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When I was a child we had a tortoise.  He was called Sondar The Treen.

This name was lifted from one of my brother’s Dan Dare comics.

Sondar was a little alien who used to fly about while sitting on a saucer.  He resembled our tortoise because he had a similar hard chin and a straight, rat-trap mouth.  He may also have had similar tortoise- like skin.

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Although we all lived in an upstairs flat with only a small concrete back yard, which was accessed down a flight of stone steps, he lived with us happily for many years.

Tortoises do not actually do anything particularly interesting, or even very fast, and the throwing of balls is not a requirement, but the upkeep is minimal and they obligingly go to sleep all through the wintertime.

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The tragedy took place upon a perfectly ordinary day.

Poor Sondar somehow managed to fall down the whole flight of back steps into the yard, and his shell was cracked across.

I don’t know what family discussion took place but one day my parents told me that Sondar needed to go and live in a proper house that had the advantage of a nice garden, in order to prevent any further nasty accidents.

Sondar left home.

He was going to have a better life in auntie’s garden.

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Later on, when Sondar came to my mind, I would picture him nonchalantly strolling through a sunny garden.  He would be tearing out lumps of succulent grass, and dining on fresh lettuce, while auntie tickled him under the chin just the way he liked it. And sang to him.

He was surely living the high life in some kind of Tortoise Hilton

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Finally, long after, my parents decided to undertake the tiring and tedious journey on various buses, which would allow an afternoon’s visit to Auntie’s very proper home.

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Upon arrival at our desired destination we were warmly received, before being shown into Auntie’s living room, to partake of a refreshing cup of tea and some Custard Cream Biscuits.

It was as I sat, feet dangling, upon a chintzy , comfortable chair in that spotlessly tidy room, my mouth greedily stuffed with cheap biscuits, that I happened to glance down at the sparkling fireside hearth.

There was my Sondar.

He was beautifully polished, with shiny brass screws set into his back, so that you could raise up his lid and put things into  his now hollow insides.

He was some kind of box.

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There I sat, frozen still,  mouth full.

I could not swallow because of the huge lump in my throat

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J

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