In my dream last night a noise intruded, so that the dream turned on its ear and suddenly I was finding beetles in a desert in Egypt. Noisy beetles, long black ones that sounded like someone stroking an old fashioned washboard very hard, very quickly and very, very, very loudly. It woke me up, and SH too. We both lay stunned for a minute trying to sort if we were having a collective dream experience when we heard it again. You’d jump if you heard it – we did.
Having ascertained it was not human, SH went to see, while I encouraged him from the bed. It sounded marsupial to me, I’ve heard possums make a similar noise and figured it might be a bush rat. I don’t deal with rats of any sort. Snakes? Fine…yes do drape it round my neck, how lovely. Spiders? Well, you stay in your web where I can see you and I’ll stay away from you. Mice? Cute really, but Jemma Jack Russell and two cats will sort you out quick sticks, so hide. Bees? Leave them alone poor darlings, and get me some honey to put on the stings. Wasps? Get your hands down you’re drawing attention to yourself, you great twit – I’d sting you too. Rats? Call your father, my father, anyone, I am NOT coming out until it’s dead! It’s their tails. There’s something malevalent and evil about those tails. Ick. So, SH was on his own. It was a frog.
He was about the size of my palm, and he was making his very loud alarming call at the cat. Quite rightly too. And it was working, she was alarmed. Of course, once it wasn’t a rat, it was my job to catch it, which I did with my hat (there is a poem or a limerick here, somewhere isn’t there Lavenderbay?) my guts jumped when he leapt inside the hat with my hand over him, but once I reassured myself it was actually a frog, not a rat, nor a rat posing as a frog, I scooped him up and deposited him at the bottom of the cumquat trees in the wine barrel outside. Perhaps he’ll eat some of the meatier spiders that have been making silly webs across the verandah posts.
I don’t think it was Hank, I imagine Hank to be smaller and greener. And Hank, for all his singing in the tank, is much quieter…more like the Frank Spencer of frogs compared with this Russell Crowe version. Who knows how he got in, probably while I was star gazing on one of my cat doorman duties at midnight. I’ll know that sound from now on though, and I’ll be happy in the knowledge that no rat makes it.