The one that got away


If anyone told me I would have pet tadpoles in my kitchen I would have laughed in their face. But, pet tadpoles I have. In fact, the thought of releasing them back into the wild is making me feel quite sad. It is going to be something of a wrench.
How did you manage to get tadpoles in your kitchen, I hear you ask.
It all started with a routine walk around our village. We love our home in Oxfordshire and feel very privileged to live in such a beautiful part of the country. We began our Sunday stroll about four on a Sunday afternoon. We had just had a lovely couple of sunny hot days. We walked past the church and on towards the small pond by the meadow where the frogs lived. Except, there were no frogs, in fact there was barely any water as the pond had dried up. Struggling in the small amount of water were about a hundred tadpoles. We stared in horror trying to work out what we could do. Andrew suggested we go back and find a container and return to rescue them. Without giving it anymore thought we rushed back. I rummaged through the kitchen cupboards and found a huge vase that I never use and off we went again. With a small plastic cup Andrew rescued almost all of them.
We plucked several pieces of pond weed and trudged back to take the tadpoles to their new home. We filled the vase with fresh clean water and they all swooped to the bottom.
‘You’ve killed them,’ I cried.
‘I’ve stunned them. They will be okay,’ says a confident Andrew.
He was right. They were fine. They have resided in the kitchen for several weeks now and the pond is only just starting to fill up again. Bendy (the cat) has given them odd looks but overall has not seemed very interested.
Then, the day came when they had outgrown the vase. Again I rummaged through the cupboards. Ah, yes. I had a large bowl that I used once for transporting soup. I won’t need that again (she hopes) I hand it to Andrew and we look at each other. How to do this without losing our precious babies down the sink? It was nerve wracking. Out came the sieve. The kitchen bowl was emptied. Deep breaths taken and Andrew empties the contents of the vase into the sieve. I squeeze my eyes shut, convinced they will all fall through the holes, into the sink and down the plug hole. Oh, what a thought. Some tadpole mother I would have been. How would I be able to live with myself if I killed a hundred would be frogs?
‘Are they okay?’ I whisper.
I open my eyes to see them wriggling in the sieve. Quickly Andrew tips them into their new home. A big sigh of relief from us both. Then, we see a tiny black wriggling thing on the kitchen counter. The one that got away. I grab a spoon and hand it to Andrew who gently scoops it up and pops it into the bowl.
‘He’ll have a big story to tell,’ he laughs.

Our growing babies
Our growing babies

My heart is still in my mouth that I cannot laugh back. My legs are all weak. I mean what a state to get into over a tadpole. You’re so kind, you are thinking. Well, I guess you’re right. Although there was the day that I almost killed them with an overdose of stale bread after misreading a text from Andrew. As you can see Andrew is in charge of our babies. I noticed a stale piece of bread in the bread bin and text Andrew to ask how much they could have. I don’t want to be the one responsible for killing them you see. I’m sure you understand.
‘Give them what they want I guess. There is a big piece in there that should be thrown out.’
I took it to mean there was a big piece of bread in the bread bin that should be thrown out, so the tadpoles can have it. What he meant was there was a large piece of bread in the tadpole bowl that was no good anymore. Whoops. I piled in the bread, along with what was already in their bowl. Andrew comes home to a bowl so murky he cannot even see our babies, let alone see if they are still alive.
‘You’ve probably killed them on bread overdose,’ he accuses.
I nearly cry.
Luckily all is well and once the bread is cleared out they can breathe again and so can I.
As I write this, babies are doing well thank you and getting very big. I fear I will wake up one day to a kitchen full of frogs… I’m not kissing them all, so forget it.

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