Dear Readers, it’s been really cold this week so the frogs stopped their libidinous activities and spent most of their time torpid on the bottom of the pond. But today has dawned sunny and fairly mild, and the frogs have responded by coming to the surface and singing (you can just see this one’s white throat, which inflates when he sings and is a clear visual signal that he’s an available male).
The males are everywhere, but there’s no frogspawn yet – I’m guessing the water has to reach an optimum temperature before the females will release their eggs. There’s lots of time yet!
And in other news, the pond skaters are back too. No doubt they’ll be waiting for some frogspawn or tiny tadpoles for their lunch, but they’ll have to be patient.
And in other news, the garden is absolutely full of small birds – chaffinches, goldfinches, blue tits, starlings, and four blackbirds who seem to have made an uneasy truce by dividing the garden down the middle.
I was going to record the song of the starling for you all, but every time I started a blooming plane went over. Who remembers those days at the start of the first lockdown when there was barely a contrail in the sky? In the time that I was trying to capture this bird ticking and whistling away, four planes went over my house with barely twenty seconds between. Meantime, my poor husband who has been so careful about getting Covid went to the pub for a leaving event last week, and has now tested positive for Covid. He’s ok – it seems to manifest as a bad cold and cough, and he’s triple vaccinated – but according to our rules in the UK it would be quite legal for him to go into work and give Covid to everybody else. Of course he won’t, because he has the option not to, but there’s now no legal protection for someone who works in a shop or as a cab driver or in any of the service industries to say that they aren’t working because they have Covid – their employer can simply order them into work regardless. Meantime, the cases for the over 55s are rocketing. Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s over and that we can all just get back to ‘normal’, because it’s clear that we can’t, and what is a minor inconvenience for my husband (and probably me when I get it, though I’m clear so far) can mean hospitalisation or worse for someone with a compromised immune system, or simply someone who is elderly or unwell.
Harrumph! Forgive the rant, please. I don’t know about anyone else, but the terrible things that are going on in Ukraine, climate change and the pandemic are enough to raise anyone’s anxiety levels through the roof. I donate to Ukraine charities, I work for a climate change organisation and yet it never feels like enough. But today I made myself sit in the garden and watch the birds and the frogs for half an hour, because I don’t think it serves anyone if I become mired in despair. Look after yourselves, readers. That hoary old cliche about putting your oxygen mask on first applies as much as it ever did.