As far as the Mayor of Succulent City, Mrs Lithops, is concerned, I am that dreadful paparazzi man. Every time she looks around, there I am with a camera pointed at her, invading her privacy, mercilessly capturing her at moments of crisis, tragedy and now at that delicate phase known as the change of life.
No woman wants to be photographed when she's not looking her best, and at first glance Mrs Lithops looks so crook that Pam and I actually thought she was headed for heaven. But hooray, we were very much mistaken, even if my camera and I were unwelcome.
Take a peek from the 'helicopter' view and you can see that Mrs Lithops is merely discarding her winter wardrobe and is quite sensibly putting on her summer frock.
The side-on view tells the story. A beautiful young Lithops, the latest thing, is on the way. As it turns out this takes a while to happen. We first noticed Mrs Lithops' seeming 'decline' on October 7, and it's only today, October 25, that the transformation is complete.
A few days later and the youngster is just bursting with good health and ready to party, impatient to shrug off its elderly chaperone.
That episode is all behind her now. She's a young, optimistic Lithops looking forward to a hot dry summer, just like the ones back home.
I haven't had the heart to let the kid know she's in humid coastal Sydney, where the downpours are frequent and February a sauna. I'll let the other succulents fill her in on those facts of life.