A couple of days ago, I picked up the big red watering-can which was laying on its side on one of the garden paths. For some reason I happened to look inside and found that there was a satsuma-sized toad crouched in the bottom. So I carefully placed the can on its side in a shady spot, so that the little fella could make good his escape.

The next night I picked up the can, checked it was empty and filled it from the water butt. The first sweep of watering went fine, but then it quickly spluttered to a dribble.

I had a good idea of the cause. For reasons best known to small children Little Boots has taken to removing the rose, and wombling around the garden using it as a receptacle for collections of leaves, twigs, gravel and the like. But no, the rose was empty. Maybe a snail in the spout I thought, and had a peek. Right place wrong creature – there was something small, round and pudgy blocking the tube.

I was awash with guilt. I don’t know how much pressure there is behind two gallons of water as it forces its way up a pipe, but the little toad had been jammed in place by it. I immediately tipped the water out of the top into another can and returned the red one to the shady spot. It did briefly cross my mind to dislodge the toad with a cane, but I figured it’d suffered enough, without being poked in the face, or up the bum, by a bamboo stick, so I let it be.

Of course anyone who’s ever lifted a large rock and found a toad beneath it knows they are very pliable creatures that sometimes seem to be made of putty. And so the next morning I found my warty friend, no worse for wear, albeit with a slightly grumpy expression, sitting in the bottom of the watering-can.

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