A Rat and Frogs in the Garden

This is another excerpt from Paul Jennings’ The Living Village, a collection from diaries written for the half century of the Womens’ Institute in 1965. It is a window into a lost world, as this suggests, from Little Houghton, Northamptonshire:

“One morning I tied the rind of a leg of pork on to our rowan tree. A short time after a young rat strolled along the lawn towards the tree. He sniffed round alertly as he got nearer, until he was right under the rind. How to reach it? He sat back on his hind legs viewing it. He raised himself higher, like a dog begging… no good.He tried to climb the tree, slipped and fell, tried again and again, positively dancing with rage in his efforts. In the end he had to give up and I swear as he stumped off he was saying to himself, like the fox in the fable, ‘I bet it did not taste very good.’

The end of the month saw the start of the annual March of the Frogs. Where they come from and where they go to I don’t know. The first signs are squashed bodies that have been run over halfway down the hill at Station Road. After that life becomes very dodgy, in the true sense of the word. Walking in the dark one shies away from every object in the road. Why? Have you ever trod on a big fat frog? Things are nearly as bad in a car. One can see the petrified amphibians in the headlights so one tries not to run over them. The army advances as the days go on, till they finally  disappear, just before they reach the level crossing in Mill Lane.

This is from Wraby, Lincs:

June 20th Hedgehog enjoying himself tucking into a bar of striped Cleethorpes rock by the railway line, obviously thrown out of a passing train.

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