A few years ago, when I was filling in the pond in the back garden, I skewered a frog on a pitchfork.
I’d hoped my act, though not deliberate, would have sent shockwaves through the frog world and caused the ribbeting amphibians to hop away en masse, fearful of what might happen to them should they return.
That proved to be the case for roughly six years since the punctured frog incident, but very recently the frogs appear to be getting brave again. A few weeks ago a baby frog jumped out of the way of the lawnmower and just this Saturday I was confronted with a frog as a big a toad when I was out doing a bit of gardening.
I make no bones about it. Frogs frighten me. So much so that I can’t even bring myself to drink Budweiser.
They mightn’t be as scary looking as the likes of spiders or sharks, but they are experts in the art of surprise.
Frogs, as is their nature, blend in with their environment and are quite happy to sit motionless for hours on end. But when they do get round to shifting their trademark move is a spectacular leaps. It’s this juxtaposition in motion from a camouflaged location that makes my heart skip a beat.
It appears frogs require no form of warming up. They go from a state of covert inaction to a state of frenzied action in the blink of an eye.
It’s the equivalent of a person hiding behind your sofa all day when you’re at work, not moving a muscle for eight or nine hours, until you finally get home, sit down on the sofa, kick your shoes off, then they leap out from their hiding place behind you and tear their hamstring in the process.
I tried to think of reasons why the frogs might have returned. I’ve concluded that Lucy may be responsible.
Just as Peppa Pig has influenced her to jump in muddy puddles, another of her favourite shows, Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom, encourages her to use her magic wand to turn people into frogs.
On the subject of cartoons, I have an issue with the portrayal of frogs on children’s television. Kermit and his ilk are portrayed as cuddly, loveable characters when the truth of the matter is, in real life, they are slimy and mischievous.
Only in 2005, when the Crazy Frog entered the pop charts, did animators create a cartoon frog that was as hideous as its natural world equivalent.
The frog that I came face to face with on Saturday was a real beast. When it leapt from the patch of undergrowth beside my foot I let out a scream so girly that Karen initially thought some terrible fate had befell Lucy.
Having retreated to the far end of the garden I kicked a football at the offending frog in the hope it would clear off.
When I went back to check its whereabouts, it hadn’t moved. After its recent spritely behaviour it had gone into standby mode again.
I ushered my wife and children into the safety of the house and returned to the frog. I had to get to the bottom of this amphibian invasion. The only way to prove my theory about Lucy’s spell casting was to kiss the frog and see if it returned to human form.
I puckered up and planted the lips on the slimy creature.
Nothing happened, however I’m left with a feeling of resounding guilt.
While I’m confident I can keep the smooch a secret, I’m worried the frog won’t be able to hold its tongue.