Today I met a woman in a pub car park to discuss going on toad patrol in the coming months.
Yes, you read that sentence right: anyone driving through the country lanes near where I live this Spring may just see me standing around in a high-vis jacket, looking for toads in distress. I was coerced into this by my wife, who’d responded to an advert looking for volunteers to help assist the toads’ journey across a busy road to a pond on the other side, and felt it was a good cause to be involved with; it’s also an excuse to get out and do something, which is always good if you’re naturally reticent like me; the fact it’s for a excellent cause makes it all better, though forgive me if I burst into We All Stand Together while I’m doing it.
The woman took us on a little wander to where the toads usually cross and explained the whys and wherefores of a usual patrol. The organization started in 2001 with a fair few volunteers, which - like the toad numbers - have dwindled with time. Such is the nature of nature. All we need to do, should we decide to join in, is to rescue the frogs as they start to cross in an awkward place and escort them to the other side, making a note of their sex as we do it. I daren’t ask during the meeting how you sex a toad, because it sounded too appropriate, but I’m presuming it’s fairly easy. I guess I’ll find out shortly. Either way, I’m not going to make a big deal out of it; It’s nice to help if I can.