Friday, March 22, 2013


Before last weekend, I laboured under the delusion that Easter eggs came in a small handful of varieties: there were red ones and blue ones, red-orange ones and blue-green ones. There was the one that you dipped in the yellow before you dipped it in the blue, which was a mistake because then there was green dribbling down the yellow half. There were brightly-coloured plastic eggs in baskets full of shimmery green grass that occasionally contained jelly beans or chicks made of fluffy yellow cotton balls. There were Cadbury cream eggs, and there were chocolate malt eggs.

Before last weekend, I was like a Charles Darwin who had never seen a Galapagos turtle. I was uninitiated and na├»ve. 

Then came Saturday afternoon. It was a cold but brilliantly sunny day. I found myself in the city centre and decided to investigate the market that had appeared outside my work the week before. There, amongst the pastry and jewellery stalls and the pen of spaniel-sized rabbits, I found my Galapagos turtles. 

They came in every colour from pastel pink to sunflower yellow to navy blue. Some were painted, some were beaded, and some were wound with string. 

There were cat ones and music ones; flower ones and bird ones. They were tied with ribbons – a long one at the top, and usually a bow on the bottom. They sat in grey cartons, stacked upon wooden crates, and they shone like little morsels of springtime joy in the sun.

I decided to get the sunflowers, the music notes, a cat, and a pretty green-and-yellow for myself, and the lily-of-the-valley, a rabbit, and a pretty blue for my mom. Then I changed my mind and didn’t get anything, because how exactly would you get something like that across an ocean in one piece, and how could I possibly keep them safe when there’s a cat in the house who thinks she’s a mountain goat?

I was about to settle for a few dozen photos and a chocolate torte when I came upon a solution: what about getting an egg the cat can’t break? An egg made of steel or concrete or an egg that’s really, really big. An egg like this one…

I think it’s just the thing. I bet Darwin would agree.

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