Friday, June 11, 2021

Froggy Went a Courtin'

Time for another pond and pondering post I reckon.

Inspired by BBC's Springwatch, I've been hanging out by the pond a little more in the last few days.  In fact, there are times, when I sit for so long, mesmerized by the activity or what is in flower, that I would not blame Gareth if he came and placed a pointy hat on my head and stuck a fishing rod in my hand.  I could be mistaken for a garden gnome.

The pond has delivered on many promises so far.  

1.  Relaxation and Calm

Nothing relaxes me as much as spending time by water.  Admittedly a puddle doesn't quite cut it, but I love the reflective quality of water, sharing it with an abundance of other creatures and feeling its moisture on the breeze.  Check out this gorgeous marginal plant - Lychnis Flos-Cuculi, now in flower, having taken the baton and run from the Marsh Marigold.

2.  Plant Life

Breaking the rules, we did position our pond under a tree (it's hard not to in our garden) and so, for a time, feared that algae and other nasties might take over.  Certainly, for a while, we witnessed very little in the way of wildlife.  We have therefore made sure that we have plenty of oxygenating plants and  have recently added a lily into the mix.  There's nothing to report on this as yet, but in the meantime, you can make do with these fantastic lily pads, captured on the surface of a Black Country canal.

3.  Wildlife

This has perhaps been the most interesting aspect to a wildlife pond.  For some time, we had nothing of note (well nothing visible to the naked eye).  Then a pond skater moved in and seemed very content for a number of weeks - until we spotted a frog.  

Coincidentally (or not) the pond skater vanished.  History then appeared to repeat itself.  The frog was content for a few days and then it too mysteriously vanished.  

With a tiger on the loose, insisting on drinking the pond dry, we feared the worst...

...until 2 days ago, the frog re-appeared!  

Bigger, bolder...

...and more brown than we remembered, it emerged, and this time, left the comfort of its ledge beneath a log and began swimming around in the pond.  Weirdly, a lone pond skater also re-appeared.

As frog folklore would have me believe, frogs completely shed their skin about once a week and then consume the dead skin, so no wonder it's growing!  The photos were captured with my 70-300mm lens, tripod mounted to avoid camera shake, as I had to zoom in from afar.

This little video, showing just how much Froggy is enjoying the pond, was recorded on my iPhone and he didn't seem to mind at all that I was only inches above him.

I did wonder whether this frog was the original, but I'm pretty sure it is.  Whilst it does look darker in colour than when we first spotted him, apparently most amphibians can change colour, albeit to widely varying degrees.

A further mystery I've yet to solve, is the fact that all sources say that frogs and toads have four digits on their forelegs.  Unless I'm mistaken, this one, according to Gareth's pixelated phone shot, only appears to have three.  Further investigation is required.  The gnome will look into it.

In other news, I've been tinkering with old photos again.  This one was an old print of our son as a toddler.  I have restored it and made it black and white.  I so clearly remember that carefree moment on Saunton Sands, which cemented his love of the sea.  It feels like yesterday, but it can't be, because yesterday he left secondary school and now college looms large on the horizon.  In the blink of an eye, we've moved from sharing his innermost thoughts on Thomas the Tank Engine to largely being out of the loop.  So, bittersweet.

Life is definitely a journey full of twists and turns.  One thing I tell him is that the days of committing to one career are long gone.  Work hard, but don't fear change and always prize health and happiness above all else.    

Practicing what I preach, I have this week embarked upon a new chapter of my own; literally and figuratively.  I'm writing a screenplay.  By some quirky twist of fate, I have made the acquaintance of someone whose family story I'm desperate to tell.  Photography was the link and I tracked her down to ask her permission to photograph something very dear to her.  But, through our virtual conversations, a side project occurred to me - a lightbulb moment of sorts.  Our thoughts and aspirations I think are in sync and more importantly, she trusts me.  Large chunks of the story, characters and even snippets of dialogue and complete scenes are almost fully formed in my head.  I have zero expectations, but feel compelled to see this through - particularly after last week's lucky number 7 appeared in cloud formation shortly after I had the idea.  

With June 21st or "Freedom Day" hanging in the balance, something the supremely arrogant Noel Gallagher said in a recent interview struck a chord with me.  He commented that no one with creative leanings will say that they have had a bad lockdown, because most of them live inside their own head.  I can totally relate to this, not because I'm claiming to be some super creative, but I do have stuff (soul feeding stuff) I want to do and quite often feel that there aren't enough hours in the day to do those things because of all the other stuff we have to do.  Does this make sense to anyone else?  I quite often wonder what on earth I was doing with my time in my younger years.

Anyway, that's enough armchair philosophy from me.  I'll leave you with a photo of blooming June.  

What have you been up to?


  1. Hello Claire, yes cocky ball Gallagher's words make complete sense. And I agree with you, I have lots of ideas but never enough hours in the day to follow them through. If Covid had happened pre-child rearing me, I would have happily hunkered down in the music bunker only to emerge for tea and occasional subsistence. Even now, there's a lot for me to amuse myself at home and I think a bit of boredom for the kids makes them rely on their imagination a little more. Very wise words to your son about not fearing change and prizing health and happiness most. How lovely to have Mr Froggy in your pond. He's a reet 'ansom one. Lulu xXx

  2. Thanks Lulu. I would probably have taken a similar approach pre motherhood. What do you know - as soon as I had published this post, we spotted another one. It’s a good job we’re getting away soon - I think we’re getting way too excited over this! xx


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