Since finding Cold Mole (see 9th January) clinging onto the pool hose for dear life, we decided to leave an old bread cutting board in the pool to serve as a life raft of sorts. Any creature falling into the pool has no way of getting out and so we suspect that some of the drowned shrews, frogs and even rats we have found have exhausted themselves by frantically swimming in circles before succumbing to the cold and sinking to the bottom – what an awful thought.

The board’s main use since then has been for M to skim across the surface of the water for the Neighbouring Hound to retrieve. Said Labrador follows its instinct and obligingly does this several times to loud applause. Tiring of the futility of the exercise, the hound retrieves the board one last time and places it firmly on the lawn as if to say “this is quite enough”.


This morning the life raft served its purpose: a tiny toad (Eastern Leopard Toad) was sitting on the edge of it when I came outdoors for my early morning tea. It looked rather forlorn in that big expanse of clear water.


As ours is a salt water pool, we thought it best to place the toad in the bird bath on the lawn to rinse itself off. It remained there for nearly three quarters of an hour before disappearing into the tangle of air plants that skirt the base of the acacia tree.


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