Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Bran Tub # 21: Jiminy Cricket, another oddball post …


As I do, wherever I am, I seem to muse about blog posts … yesterday I was happily sitting outside having lunch up at a local hotel – with a croquet lawn to admire, the English Channel waves undulating a few hundred feet away …

Outlook from hotel

...an idyllic sunny day to spend a bit of time with a friend … soon after we first met we were having lunch … as we were enjoying ourselves … a mighty seagull powered its way from the roof and whipped my friend's piece of salmon off her plate! Yikes and yugh!


Seagulls scavenging ... I must say that looks
quite a good tasty pasty - better than some

We haven't been eating outside since … but the manager informed us - they had seagull scarers now – so we risked it …



oh yes – we were safe! But no … a very pretty emerald golden spider was flitting around me … matching the thistles on my skirt … I managed to release him to the care of the earth …


He's quite pretty isn't he?
looks like he might have been a Cucumber Spider – they seem quite common, but I've never noticed one before, though they appear at this time of year …




but as I go to various group classes – history, memoir, life-science and music appreciation (today's class) and others … I ended up pondering humans … and how odd we all are … how our behaviours are all so varied … all good fillers for a blog post!


But I digress – I think! - and then remembered the Desert Rain Frog and my time in Namibia … that I'd intended to write about …


Desert Rain Frog


he's a plump species with bulging eyes, short snout, short limbs, spade-like feet, and webbed toes … charming little fella, n'est pas?



Added to which he has an unusually high-pitched cry similar to that of a squeaky toy.


Another view of a Desert Rain Frog

Also he's unique as he develops directly from the egg into an adult – so no tadpole stage. He pads happily about on the sand, not requiring water in his habitat for survival.



Their habitat is a very small strip of land in the Cape Province of South Africa, and the coastal strand in southern Namibia … where the Skeleton Coast Desert can be found – an area stretching from Angola in the north, into the Cape Province further south …


The marked edge of southern Africa -
where this little frog si found

The Desert is magical … fog provides most moisture in an otherwise arid and dry region and it's amazing how much can survive in the coastal dunes – about 24 miles wide, and 310 miles in length …



our little Desert Rain Frog is one of those incredible species … sadly its habitat is being lost to human 'needs' (mining and tourism) …


Namibian homelands 1978 - 
the Skeleton Coast is marked, as 
too the Desert


I'd like to think that we will realise what we have on this earth … and which we should be looking after for future generations …


My mother and I went there about 35 years ago … strange but true!


Thanks for visiting – another Bran Tub post … so many other subjects to get to: I'll get there …


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

30 comments:

John Holton said...

Cute little guy, both of them...

Jacqui Murray said...

I would have had the same reaction as you, Hilary. I wish I was more accepting of all kinds of animals becoming part of my environ. Maybe that's why I add them to my books. The spider--that would have undone me!

Joanne said...

I can't concentrate on the cute little frog and his plight due to mankind. I'm fixated on losing out on a delightful salmon lunch. Oh my goodness! Knowing the price was not cheap, that seagull should have to walk the plank for thievery. Plus, I bet the flavor and meal were quite tasty.

And now I'm hungry for salmon...
And I'm pondering your comment on humans and the stuff of blogs. Hmm. What shall I post next?

Thanks for sharing this.

Elephant's Child said...

A truly delightful bran tub. I have a weakness for birds and an admiration for their quick reflexes and survival skills. I would be annoyed (mostly at myself) if I lost my dinner to one though. I am also fond of spiders - and blown away by their architecture.
Frogs I also find charming. I hadn't heard of the Desert Rain Frog. Thank you for introducing it to me - and a big sigh at our effect on its territory.

Birgit said...

Your description of that fat frog is a perfect description of an aunt I had( now dead). I would want to do something to that seagull. What a daring bloke! The spider is pretty but, knowing me, I would have screamed and the poor guy would have gone flying

Liz A. said...

Seagulls... sigh... Rats with wings. (They descend upon the schools after lunch as the kiddos leave so much trash around. And they know it.)

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
I rescued a spider from the bath yesterday - it would starve if I didn't. What a darling wee frog you introduced us to. There so many gems hidden from general view and some disappearing even as we blink... YAM xx

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ John - yes ... little sweetie-pies!!

@ Jacqui - it's so interesting finding out new species ... or as in my case - seeing the cucumber spider. Oh that's great to read that you're adding in to your books these hidden gems from our geological time zone ...

@ Joanne - thanks - the little frog is a delight isn't he. My poor friend was totally shocked ... so we were so pleased to find the hotel had installed these seagull-scarers and we can confirm they worked!

I actually that day had Caesar Chicken Salad - which is what we both had on Tuesday ...

Oh it's fun people watching! ... we were listening to pieces of music - when I could concentrate, which of course my mind wanders off from to watch others fiddle around ...

@ Birgit - oh dear ... poor aunt, but I can visualise her.

It's all seagulls, not just one ... but these 'scarers' really do seem to be working - they came recommended from the local harbour complex ...

@ Liz - yes ... I agree - seagulls are a nuisance - great nom-de-plume: 'rats with wings'. I guess your school could perhaps put up some of these scarers - yet perhaps the seagulls, as scavengers, cleared up some of the mess ...

@ Yam - lots of spiders around here ... but not such pretty ones. Delighted you enjoyed my little chubby chops (the Desert Rain Frog). You're right there are so many gems hidden from general view - and yes species going extinct as we blog ...

So pleased to see your comments - thank you and Cheers Hilary

Elephant's Child said...

Can you check your spam folder for me please? I fear my latest comment may have landed there.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi EC - you're right ... it had disappeared there; I do check my spam folder pretty often now-a-days ... as I keep needing to rescue comments disappearing - for whatever reason!

Thanks for your comment - I know you have a weakness for our two-legged feathered friends - actually they swoop in so quickly - there is zero time dallying by them! No anxiety that they won't succeed in getting their meal ... clever birds!

Yes - I'm happy having spiders around ... this little one was very pretty ... and those cobwebs are quite extraordinary - genius architects.

I hadn't come across the Desert Rain Frog before ... though I know a few of the special species found in the desert ...

Great to see you ... cheers Hilary

Anabel Marsh said...

What a fat little creature! Quite cute though. But yuck to the gull stealing your friend’s lunch.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Darn seagull!
Amazing toad. No water would be rough for most species.

Sandra Cox said...

What a fun post. I'm stunned about the seagull stealing your friend's lunch.

retirementreflections said...

Thank you for another great Bran Tub, Hilary.
I believe that all of the critters you have shown here are beautiful...as long as they keep their distance and don't steal my lunch! :D

Hels said...

I am totally with you on two important issues:
1. Wherever you are, you seem to muse about blog posts
2. And as you go to various group classes, you ended up pondering humans and how their behaviours are all so varied … all good fillers for posts.

The trouble is that even the best ideas in the world flit into the brain and out, within a few minutes. This can be true in group classes, when watching tv, shopping in the supermarket, on the beach or in bed at 4 AM. So always always a small piece of paper and pen next to your bed, bathing suit or shopping bag - a couple of words will remind you of your flash of genius :)

When you wrote "the English Channel waves undulating a few hundred feet away", I scribbled "our first Channel ferry crossing".

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Anabel - he's a sweet little thing isn't he - life is extraordinary. Yes - the stealing of lunch was distressing ...

@ Alex - darn seagullssssss - so many of them, thank goodness the hotel seems to have addressed their hassling.
Poor frog - he'd be upset if he was called a toad! But not needing water - other than his food sources (insects) and the fog mist that occurs all the time.

@ Sandra - thank you ... I know poor woman, was very distressed about her lunch - still we enjoyed our time together and Tuesday's lunch.

@ Donna - the Bran Tub can bring up some interesting ideas - thank you. Yes - I'd rather not have too many seagulls ... but the cucumber spider has been rather fun to find out about ... let alone chubby chap!

@ Hels - all the mixes of subjects I attend or browse about I spend forever thinking about potential blog posts - or how I can cross reference ideas and bring in something personal ...

Oh yes - things are easily forgotten and I do sometimes jot things down ... as I did yesterday for a potential speaker from Canterbury University, who is a friend's grandson ... ways and means of life.

The English Channel - first ferry crossing ... I've had a few and some very bumpy ... now I think of refugees, or back in geological time - before it was 'a channel' and was still connected to Europe, or William the Conqueror ...

Thanks everyone - so much to think about ... and we've had a bit of much needed rain - lots of thunderstorms too ... freshened air -cheers Hilary

Keith's Ramblings said...

Sounds like you were at the Hydro Hotel, am I right? Wetherspoons in Cornfield Road has notices in their outside area saying they won't take responsibility for stolen food!

What a lovely little frog, I'd like one as a pet!

David M. Gascoigne, said...

As you know, Hilary, I am a lifelong and unabashed lover of birds, so much so that I can't imagine living without them, but I draw the line at sharing my salmon with them. Let the gull go and fish for his own lunch, I say! I am sure that if you return to this restaurant a table inside will be an essential item! As for the frog in Namibia, I am quite familiar with its unique lifestyle and it really does impress on me the wonderful diversity of nature, which we sadly continue to plunder without regard for generations still to come, human or otherwise.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Keith - I'm up there quite a lot as we hold a regular monthly meeting there - and the view is always lovely ... so we regularly support it. They've obviously come across the seagull scarers, via the Harbour venues, and installed some up here - they certainly work/ed ...

Wetherspoons and the seafront and other local venues - not sure ... but difficult to keep the hordes of seagulls away, I'd have thought?!

Yes 'my' little chubby chap is a delight isn't he - poor chap he'd be swamped amongst our shingle beaches!

@ David - I do know your love of birds ... sadly seagulls have become scavengers in much of England/UK now - breeding on the rubbish dumps in and around coastal homes. They don't seem to discriminate between an easy meal provided by some unsuspecting customer or putting some effort in by fishing for theirs?! They are stunning birds though, very adaptable ...

We've been inside for the last couple of years - not realising that these scarers have been installed and so now we'll be happy to sit outside.

Interesting that you've come across 'my' little Desert Rain Frog - I only went to the Skeleton coast in the northern part of coastal Namibia - and their territory is further south ... so they hadn't been identified in the guide books as something to look out for.

Nature is quite extraordinary and so diverse and unique ... I just hope we look after it - and future generations do too ...

Thanks so much for your comments - bright and breezy here now, after last night's thunderstorms ... cheers Hilary

Sandra Cox said...

I'm not a spider person, but that's a pretty one.
Take special care. Cheers,

Damyanti Biswas said...

Wow, I just learned something new today! :)

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

What a cheeky seagull that was!

I like the Desert Rain Frog...he looks almost cartoonish, doesn't he?

Dan said...

I learned a lot today, Hilary. Thank you for that.I was pleased to read that you returned the spider to his home habitat.

Marja said...

That frog ball lol It's amazing how many species there are. I agree that we should look after it. I also totally agree that the human species are the oddest ones. People are so different with so many strange habits.
What a waste of the salmon, I love salmon. Here in NZ they put water pistols on the tables of some cafes so you can spray them away

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sandra - I don't mind spiders ... but the cucumber one is quite delightful ... I'd never heard of it before, and yes it's pretty.

@ Damyanti - the world and life offer up so much to learn about ...

@ Elizabeth - thank you ... those seagulls (plural) are, I'd describe them as, thuggery thieves - beyond cheeky ...
The Desert Rain Frog is a sweetie isn't he ...

@ Dan - yes little cucumber spider was returned to some greenery ... and always lots to learn ...

@ Marja - 'the frog ball' is a delight - I loved finding out about him. As you confirm we need to look after them and all other species and the land they live on. Human species are an odd lot - includes me, I suspect ...

My friend was a little shocked ... to put it mildly and she refused to eat anything else ... but we enjoyed our salads outside during this past week - safe with the gull-scarers doing their jobs. I believe in some places they've done that here: putting water pistols on tables - but 'boy' do you have to be so so quick - in fact almost impossible and then they're back ...

Thanks for visiting and commenting on the oddities coming out of the bran tub posts - enjoy your weekends - cheers Hilary

Pam Lazos said...

Looks like a beautiful day in the neighborhood, Hilary. I saw a frog on my walk with the dog yesterday that I almost stepped on he was so camouflaged. Isn't nature grand!?1 xo

DMS said...

I can't imagine a bird swooping down and taking my food- but I am sure it happens more than I know! What an interesting story. Glad you ate outside again and were able to put your visiting spider in a better spot. ;)

I love frogs! Loved learning new things about them here today.
~Jess

bookworm said...

I live in the United States, and in our southern state of Florida I've seen signs warning people to guard their ice cream cones because they get stolen by those birds. Outdoor dining does have its hazards! I can understand salmon - but ice cream cones? That Desert Rain Frog is a fascinating creature and wouldn't be stealing your dinner. What we are doing to our planet is going to come around and imperil all of us. It's already happening. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Pam - yes we've had some nice sunny ones, but with a couple of days with some very necessary and much needed rain, though the cold wind still seems to blow.

Yes - so easy to miss nature's little critters ... did the dog react? ... I once saw a woodpecker with a long slim thing hanging from its mouth, only to realise it was a slow-worm thrashing around ... I couldn't stop as I was a dangerous bit of road - but if we stop for a short time - all things come into view.

@ Jess - lots of seagulls swoop down if you live on the seafront as we do here in Eastbourne ... and they are incredibly quick. Yes it amuses us both - reminders of life - but we did enjoy our outdoors meal this week and know we can do it more often now. Yes little spider hopefully had a better home and I didn't disturb him too much.

Hoppity frogs, and noisy toads - actually frogs made a lot of noise too ... excellent to have around the garden.

@ Alana - yes ... if we read the signs before they swoop ... that day a child's sandwich was whipped away by another guzzling gull! Well as you say ... ice-cream ... actually they are scavengers and enjoy their chips too!

The little Desert Rain Frog is special - I loved finding out about him ... wish I'd seen one, when I was in Namibia ...

Thanks so much for visiting and commenting - cheers from another lovely day in Eastbourne - Hilary

D.G. Kaye said...

Your seagull swoopers story reminded me of the overbearing crows that hung around the pool in Mexico. Those buggers would dart to anyone's empty chairs if saw saw any food on their tables - they even knew how to poke open unopened bags of potato chips! LOL :)