Monday, 15 March 2010


Ever since I can remember I've had a phobia about frogs. This time of year holds a special dread for me as the garden is in need of a spring makeover and the lawn is requiring lawnmower treatment. I head outside with a nervous grin, sweaty palms and perspiration literally running down my back. My eyes are peeled as if looking out for commando positions set for ambushing an infantry platoon. I complete a quick reccy for movements in the undergrowth and convinced there's no frog or toad within a mile radius, I get down to gardening. Getting cocky I reach down and pull up some weeds and a frog will jump out towards my feet. At this point I have an out of body experience where my voice takes on the voice of Linda Blair from the Exorcist. In fight or flight terms, my body goes into full flight mode... arms flailing and screeching, I run off to the house and have a lie down in darkened room with a wet flannel across my forehead. Pathetic isn't it?
A couple of summers ago, the frog phobia reached a climax. It was a barmy, warm evening and I left my patio doors open to allow some cool air into my lounge. To my horror, out of the corner of my eye I saw a massive toad crawling across my lounge carpet towards my direction. So standing shaking on the sofa and going into shock I reach for my mobile and hit every button until I get my nephew who just laughs. I finally reach my lovely mate P who calmly says she'll be round in 10 minutes and do I have rubber gloves? Bloody hell, I'm having a breakdown here and all she thinks about is doing my washing up, but she explains calmly and rationally that she'll need to pick toady up and take it into the garden. Pick it up? Pick it up? I'm gipping at the thought but through the sobs decide that's a very kind option but could she come sort of... NOW. In the meantime, I have 10 minutes of confinement with Kermit and my blood pressure is at breaking point. Times of pressure need drastic action so I furtively slide my slippers across the carpet in the toad's direction. Not to hit it I hasten to add, just to warn it from messing with phobia woman and to hopefully block it from moving any further in my direction. The bastard thing just crawled over them. I then got out my hoover and started vacuuming in the surrounding area hoping the noise would scare it into retreat. It must have been a male toad because the sound of my hoover had it hopping towards my patio doors in double quick time. It was last seen heading under a bush with a Nuts magazine for a bit of p&q. P turns up and looks at me not with any admiration but with a slight pitying nod and helps me to burn my slippers to eliminate any trace of frogspawn. We spend the evening on Amazon looking for Paul McKenna's self help tapes on 'I Can Make You a Frog-Lover' but couldn't find any. I finally stopped shaking at 11.30pm.

Day off, gardening beckons, and I'm now stood at my back patio doors complete with infra-red, heat-seeking binoculars. I have my QVC flamethrower at the ready in case a frog is spotted. This time, it's war....

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