A frog, a fox and a mobile phone

There’s a whisper, a rumour of a discovery beneath the hawthorn hedge down at the bottom of Plot 6. I feel a flutter of excitement and my heart performs a little flip as I hop nimbly over my neighbours plot, taking care not to leave too many tell-tale footprints in the freshly turned earth.
Squatting down on my haunches I push back the remnants of last years couch grass and delight in the discovery of my neighbours ramshackle pond. Surrounded by bricks and littered with half decayed leaves and the occasional plastic plant pot, this glorified puddle is alive with life. Just below the surface, is a glutinous mass of jelly-like bubbles peppered with tiny black; the frogs have returned and they have spawned with gusto and aplomb.
I count eleven murky-green frogs in total, carefully camouflaged in their surroundings. They drift lazily half in and half out of the water their golden eyes glinting; I am captivated by their peacefulness, their contentedness and sit down to join them for while.
They must have sensed I’m not a threat because, within a few minutes they begin to sing. Now our British native frogs haven’t been blessed with the most melodious voices but who am I to judge. Their silvery throats bulged magnificently and their wide mouths opened to release their sound; chirpy croaks, throaty croaks, rumbly croaks they make quite a chorus.
I want to share this joy, this happy occasion so I pedal furiously back home with the last of the parsnips bouncing wildly in my basket. I share my news with my family and it doesn’t take too much persuading to get them out into the glorious spring day.
They love the pond life as much as I do and, as we sit basking in the sun and listening to the frogs sing, we hear a voice calling. Looking up I see an elderly gentleman, a character bedecked in rough, green corduroys and a checked shirt; his quaint ensemble held together with a pair of bright red braces.
There’s a camaraderie amongst plot holders, we like to chat and this chap is no exception. We tell him we are looking at frogs.
“Ah the fox” he replies. The children try not to giggle.
” He stole my phone you know.”
I’m trying really hard not to laugh as he wends his way across several plots, not quite as nimbly as I did, to continue his sorry tale.
Turns out he was tending his plot one fine day and took his new mobile phone out of his green corduroy pocket to check the time. Like many of us gardeners he then propped it up on the path and continued his work only to return some time later to find it was gone. And again, like us gardeners are prone to do he had a moment of doubt, confusion or, in his case, a senior moment and decided he hadn’t brought his phone out after all. He packed up his tools and whatever he could harvest and went home. He never found his phone. Someone else did.
Tucked up for several months at the base of some raspberry canes, on a plot so far away it couldn’t be nimbly hopped, it had survived all kinds of weather; the only damage was a few teeth marks on the leather strap where Foxy Loxy had had a good old chew. I can only conclude that times must have been hard for the fox to try to make a meal out of an old bit of leather, a bit like those times when I am so hungry I claim I could eat my own shoe.
“And as for the owls” he continued ” I’ve no idea what became of them, Carrington Lane used to be swarming with them!”
Well I don’t think we can blame the fox for that and I’m convinced they aren’t hiding out in someone else’s raspberry canes so I can only concur they just moved on as the area became more developed.
And, on the subject of moving on, we took some of the frog spawn on a little adventure. There’s an old wooden barrel that sits squat in the middle of my plot creating a make shift focal point to appease the designer within. It’s hopeless for wildlife. The sides are too high and nothing can get in, but that didn’t stop us filching a cup full of spawn, a globulous blob teeming with new life. Because we want to nurture it, protect it, this new life and, when the time comes, we will be ready to give our little froglets a helping hand and wave them off into their brave new world.

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12 thoughts on “A frog, a fox and a mobile phone

      • That would be great Jacqui I’ve actually been re-reading your previous comments too. I like the way you call yourself Brocolli too. Go for the book!

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      • Even my class of year ones at school call me Mrs Broccoli, they really think it’s my name and it seems perfectly acceptable to them; although one reception child called me Miss Honey the other day, it didn’t half make me smile

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      • It’s wonderful that you’ve embarked on this new career in life with Forest School! I can see that you’re loving it. Yet even more experiences of life to draw on for your book Miss Honey!

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  1. On Moss view, one of the tenants took his boots of, the next thing he knows is the fox had stolen one and was out of the allotment so fast he didnรขย€ย™t catch it. Never found the boot

    Kindest Regards

    Janet Long

    Janet Long
    Allotment Officer
    Strategic Growth Services
    Trafford Council, Trafford Town Hall, Talbot Rd M32 0TH
    T: 0161-912-5410
    Enquiry Line: 0161 912 3149
    Email: janet.long@trafford.gov.uk

    Trafford Council is a well performing, low cost council, delivering excellent services to make Trafford a great place to live, learn, work and relax.

    You can find out more about us by visiting http://www.trafford.gov.uk

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