Those aren’t my walking boots, they are on hold for the moment, but my gardening shoes. I have a habit of leaning them upside down, to keep them dry, outside the backdoor after what is usually a short session of weeding or mowing. There they remained for a few days whilst we had an onslaught of continuous rain. You may recall the sad end to the Ashes Test at Old Trafford last week.
This morning I thought I would do a spot of rose deadheading, a relaxing activity unlikely to put a strain on any of my ongoing injuries. I shoe horn my right foot into the shoe, tying the laces. The left foot comes up against something soft and mysterious. Had I left a sock in there? Putting my fingers in I can’t dislodge the obstruction, but tapping the shoe on the floor brings out a toad to my surprise and amusement. He, they always look like a ‘he’, sits there unconcerned. I check the shoe for his mate but only find a slug presumably his lunch. Gardening is delayed whilst I retreat for another coffee.
Toad in the hole – the story relates that on an unspecified golf course a player’s ball was pushed out of the 18th hole after which the offending toad poked his head out to the amazement of the players. The chef at the golf club devised a dish immortalizing this episode; a sausage, the mole, poking its head out of the batter. This is how legends are born.