Terrace with Tortoises

TASWG assignment: describe a picture or photograph of a scene in no more than 400 words.

My scene is a photograph taken looking out onto a small rectangular stone terrace, the long side of which faces away from the house. The floor appears to be made of white marble and on either side are balustrades of the same material, each wide marble handrail supported by perhaps 14 vase-shaped balusters, each standing on it’s own square base.
To the right of the terrace the balustrade is overhung slightly by some vine-like greenery. At the end of each balustrade, and directly abutted to it, are marble gateposts which project several inches onto the terrace. Hung from the gateposts is a small gate of unusual design. It has a simple thin brown-gold frame, rising up slightly at the centre. Instead of vertical members there is a network of irregularly shaped rods of this colour, resembling the intertwining stems of a bramble bush.
Beyond the gate is a whitish path leading between dark high shrubs. We can see very little of this and the path terminates shortly at a patch of light green grass of which we just catch a glimpse.
The floor space of the terrace is largely taken up by three stone tortoises.They form a train – a baby and two fully grown ones, all facing towards us, the baby being farthest away from us and nearest the gate. The adult tortoises are perhaps four to five feet in length. The tortoise heads and legs are fashioned from black stone, perhaps granite. Plesiosaur-like, they peep out from under their shells, angular and stark.
The plates or scutes of the shells appear to be comprised of small white stones and are planted with small green succulent plants so that in some of the scutes the stones are no longer visible.
The tortoise ‘family’ dominate the terrace, leaving little room for seating and causing any visitor to take a circuitous route around the terrace to reach the door.

View illustration: terrace with tortoises

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