In which John Lotkin of The Merman's Mark visits Kruger National Park 
with a tortoise named Mittens

Thursday, 4 February 2016


Norbert Bransby  4 February 2016 18:49
Are you sure you're going to be okay, with only a tortoise to keep you company?

Gill Ullrich  4 February 2016 18:50
Says the man who talks to his houseplants...

Norbert Bransby  4 February 2016 18:50
Plants are delicate, sensitive souls. We're talking a vicious reptile here.

John Lotkin 4 February 2016 18:51
I'll be okay, Norbert. If we get bored I downloaded a list of conversation starters to keep us going. Talk to you in the a-m. 

Friday, 5 February 2016


Natalie Jane 5 February 2016 06:03
Are you okay, Dad?

John Lotkin 5 February 2016 06:07
Yep. All is well. After we left that one, we ran into some calmer elephants by the water hole. Will put the photos in the next post. Love you. 

Natalie Jane  5 February 2016 06:07
Love you, too.

Friday, 6 February 2016


Natalie Jane 6 February 2016 07:01
Uh Dad, where did you get those conversation starters?

John Lotkin 6 February 2016 07:04
From a psychology study on the internet. Why?

Natalie Jane 6 February 2016 07:04
Because I think you're doing the wrong set of questions.

John Lotkin 6 February 2016 07:05

Natalie Jane 6 February 2016 07:05
What exactly did Mittens do?

John Lotkin 6 February 2016 07:06
Well he bumped me with his shell a few times. Then he bit me. I think he really wanted to leave the crocodiles.

Natalie Jane 6 February 2016 07:07
I think Mittens was trying to mate with you.

John Lotkin 6 February 2016 07:07
What? Don't be silly. 

Natalie Jane 6 February 2016 07:09
I'm not. Tortoises become aggressive when they're ready to mate. He's exhibiting all the signs.

Natalie Jane 6 February 2016 07:10
Moreover, there are 2 sets of questions to that study you downloaded, 1 for generating small talk & 1 for developing interpersonal closeness.

Natalie Jane 6 February 2016 07:11
The questions for developing interpersonal closeness have been heralded as a way to make complete strangers fall in love, and it's been known to work.

Natalie Jane 6 February 2016 07:12
I think Mittens is smitten.

John Lotkin  6 February 2016 07:14
Nonsense. I'm sure he was just upset by the crocodiles. They were acting funny in the water. A ranger said they might have been mate... oh.

Natalie Jane  6 February 2016 07:14

John Lotkin 6 February 2016 07:14
: /

Natalie Jane 6 February 2016 07:15
You know your frogs at home are going to be very jealous when they hear you snagged a turtle.

John Lotkin 6 February 2016 07:17
Quiet, Nellie. This is serious. 

Natalie Jane 6 February 2016 07:17
What are you going to do?

John Lotkin 6 February 2016 07:18
Find him a mate, of course! Don't worry, Mittens, Lotkin the love-doctor is here to help! The quest for love knows no bounds!

Natalie Jane 6 February 2016 07:27
Clearly. lol

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Not to worry, Mittens, with the help of my new website you shall be lonely no longer! 

Ladies, come and get him. :)



Natalie Jane 7 February 2016 06:02
Go get em, Mittens!!

Norbert Bransby 7 February 2016 06:09
You can do it, Mitty! There are lots of turnips in the carrot patch! You just gotta pluck one. :)

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Well I am pleased to announce after a rough go in Kruger and a little help from my website, Mittens has a row of dates lined up with these beauties.  

So far potentials include: 

This tortoise from Oudtshoorn

And these two turtles from East London

Hold thumbs one of these dates goes well! 



Natalie Jane  9 February 2016 06:09

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Inter-Blog Comments: 

Natalie Jane  11 February 2016 06:07
So I take it the dates didn't go well...

John Lotkin  11 February 2016 06:08
Disaster. Absolute disaster.

Natalie Jane  11 February 2016 06:08
All three of them?

John Lotkin  11 February 2016 06:09
Yep. Mittens is devastated. 

Natalie Jane  11 February 2016 06:09
What happened?

John Lotkin  11 February 2016 06:10
I don't want to talk about it. :(

Norbert Bransby 11 February 2016 06:13
That explosion kinda looks like a tree. Maybe the heartbreak will grow into something beautiful. :)

To those who have given up on love, 
I say trust life a little bit. 

-Maya Angelou

Sunday, 14 February 2016


John Lotkin  14 February 2016 08:26
Whoa!! This is news!!! Mittens you didn't even tell me!?! CONGRATULATIONS! 

Natalie Jane  14 February 2016 08:37
WOW!! Congrats, Mittens!!! Who's the lucky lady?

Mittens  14 February 2016 08:40

Norbert Bransby  14 February 2016 08:49
(She's a bit big for him though, isn't she? Like he went for a turnip and got a squash...)

Gill Ullrich 14 February 2016 08:50
Norbert, keep quiet. Don't spoil the moment.