Springing into action
WHENEVER my husband telephones me at work, I fear that some disaster has befallen him or one of our dogs. Usually, it’s because he can’t find something, but the purpose of this call was to announce excitedly that, not only was there frogspawn in our pond, but also a couple of smooth (or common) newts.
For weeks, he’s been peering into the murky depths in the hope of spotting the gelatinous masses of clear spheres containing black dots and he was beyond happy when the spawn duly appeared. No doubt the recently paired newts—which look like tiny, underwater dragons to me—were pleased to see it, too. Having spent the winter hiding under rocks and paving slabs, it will provide them with muchneeded nourishment as they, too, prepare to breed.
After a trip to an independent, family-run supermarket at Dikes of Stalbridge—where we bought locally reared steak, Dorset Blue Vinney cheese and knobbly Jerusalem artichokes—we sat on the edge of the pond and observed the secretive newts as they nibbled their lunch. As we enjoyed a cup of tea and our old labrador, Sock, lolled in the warm rays of the sun, our terrier, Chester, embarked on a mad half-hour, dashing round the garden at a rapid rate of knots. All creatures, it seems, are full of the joys of spring. PL