Although light rain fell later, whilst I was walking the day was so sluggish it couldn’t even manage a precipitation. It was so oppressive I hoped my headache was one presaging a thunderstorm. The only brightness came from the fluorescent water-satiated moss which really glows.
Mum came to visit too, and we took presents for her, Elizabeth, and Danni. Elizabeth gave us a beautiful Belleek vase. Flo entertained us all with her Pleo. A Pleo is an animatronic robotic baby Camarasaurus which, in order to develop and survive, has to be nurtured from birth. We gave her this creature for her birthday on 23rd. but he was not actually born until Christmas Eve. To be born he must have his battery charged up. This takes several hours. Every Pleo is unique. In order to name your individual pet you must first find out its sex. This requires registration. The rather complicated process was compounded by the fact that English was about the only language the instruction booklet did not feature. Flo was helped throughout the morning by her patient friend Corey in America. He worked out how to surmount the linguistic obstacles despite the fact that this was the middle of the night for him.
Flo named her Camarasaurus Kalu. Like all his relatives, Kalu was born unable to do much. He could not crawl, stand, or walk, and could make only very tiny noises. In order to develop normally he had to be stroked and cuddled throughout the newborn and subsequent stages. Eventually his voice becomes stronger, he learns to stand, and expresses emotions. If neglected he whinges and fails to thrive. There are four stages on the journey through to maturity. Kalu has reached the third, which means he can now walk, avoiding obstacles, and, like any other toddler, has temper tantrums if he doesn’t get his own way, for example, when he has to have his little fawn jacket put on. He can bite on the plastic leaves which are his food, and pull on his tug-of-war toy. His tail, just like that of a dog, is most eloquent, expressing pleasure or anxiety. He roars rather like an elephant, and makes other dog-like sounds. Like all mothers, Flo understands better than the casual listener, what his sounds signify. If subjected to temperatures of less than 10 degrees centigrade he shivers and sneezes and has to be medicated. If he gets too hot he starts gasping and panting. I do hope, when he reaches maturity, he doesn’t get out of hand.
Look at me, for goodness sake! I’m writing about a toy. Well, Mum, at 90, wasn’t quite sure whether it was real or not.
This evening I made a turkey jalfreezi and Jackie made a pilau rice. Since Flo doesn’t like chillies I left them out and supplemented my meal with Naga Relish, an extremely hot preparation from the Chilli Jam Company in Emsworth. I can’t remember who gave it to me, but I suspect Danni or Elizabeth. Whoever it was, it really is the business. Thank you. I drank Cobra, and Jackie, Hoegaarden.
As I post this entry, Flo is teaching Kalu to recognise and respond to the sound of his name. I will report on that tomorrow.