Saturday 3rd March 2012
F FOR… frog.
Going on the walk with my older daughter, I’m like a child, desperate to share secrets. Guess she’d better get used to senility, mind: can’t be that far off.
“You’re looking fabulous, darling. I really like that jacket and those boots.”
We cross Thomas Street. I finish singing her praises as we pass that window with the sign in it:
Have you ever thought of training
to be a Complementary Therapist?
Blossom-buds have popped out this week, found their surroundings agreeable, and started the decorating: dabs of pink and white on wall-grey canvases.
We natter about her girls, their schools, and the merits of Skype, her youngest being on a family visit abroad; I point out the whale; she spots the floating tennis balls.
The mystery menagerie is becoming an addiction: charity shop and online browsing with a collector’s zeal; the small owl now perched on the piano, awaiting loftier accommodation; compiling aardvark-to-zebra lists under the duvet.
But today belongs to the laidback frog.
The bridge on which he poses is of Cornish slate, from a long-ago holiday. It rests across the chipped lip of a dark bowl, made by my late son. I’m hoping the glint of summer sunlight will be caught by the dark brown glass of the ash-tray pond, set among leaves and moss in the dish’s centre.
“Can’t see it, dad! Too well camouflaged.”
I’d wanted to place him near the bank, but you get no sense of scale until actually there. Creepers crowd out the newcomer. She chooses the base of a nearer tree, down-stage, more visible to children in the front stalls. I add water to his new home. She laughs at the koalas. We head for the paddock gate.
She tells me of a children’s concert in Croydon, of nearly-missed train connections, of her first proper lie-in for months.
There are waggy dogs, as always; skittish birds; the lollipop and harp trees; the terrace of cottages with its line of expectant pots. Upon our return, the kettle goes on.
Might be snow tomorrow. I do hope the frog doesn’t get cold.