Sunday, January 26, 2014


My mother was a keen flower arranger. When I was young, people didn't buy flowers except for special occasions; and though my parents weren't poor, there wasn't money to splash around. So she would pick a few flowers from the garden and make the most of them, which meant arranging them with foliage in a pinholder in a shallow dish. And often she would put this frog in the water beside the flowers. I have no idea where he came from.

The frog was known as Winterbottom. I imagine that my dad named him; he was the one who came up with silly names in our household. I remember asking my mum why Winterbottom was thus named, and she said she didn't really know but maybe it was because he sat in water all the time and thus his bottom was cold.

In 2007 my dad died and in 2011 my mother moved in with us. When we were clearing her house, I came across Winterbottom in a cupboard. I couldn't bear to throw him away, so since then he's sat outside our front door, beside a pot of plants.

Grandson has therefore walked past him for most of his life, but it was only last week that he remarked on him. "He's called Winterbottom," I told him, "because he's got a chilly bottom." I don't know why I said this because it's unlikely that Grandson, at two-and-a-half, has much idea about seasons.

The next time we entered the house, Grandson picked Winterbottom up. "Take in the house," he said firmly. "Then will have a warm bottom." And he put the frog on the stairs.

It didn't occur to me till much later Winterbottom might be called this because frogs spend the winter at the bottom of ponds. (I think.)

Thus is history rewritten. Possibly.

All these photos are seriously rubbish. Here's a fairly terrible one of Granddaughter too, for the benefit of Nanny and Gramps in Worcester, who will probably prefer it to out-of-focus pictures of a frog. She beams when the the flash has gone off but it's too late then. Still, this shows off her lovely blue eyes.


  1. You ARE going to move Winterbottom yo a safer place for all concerned, aren't you? Love the name.

  2. You can tell Grandson that we have real frogs living here......big green ones! Even had one in the toilet one day......fortunately I saw it before I sat you imagine one's bare bottom being tapped by a clammy little hand?

  3. What a kind little fellow N is! Lovely story of the frog. (I like your stair carpet .)

  4. I have just disturbed a large toad in a sack of wet logs in the garden. He must have a very winter bottom sitting in there.

  5. What a great story! You guys are going to have your hands full trying to keep ahead of small grandson. And just think -- it's soon to be magnified by that cute little granddaughter!

  6. I love this! My grandpa had a frog he kept in his garden, and I always moved it around. He never minded. I don't know what happened to it, but about 10 years after my grandpa died I went to a garden center to buy flowers to bring to his grave, and the store had a wall full of the exact same frog. Of course I bought one! I also have a small ceramic frog he gave me when I was little. It's not beautiful, but much loved. How nice that you still have Winterbottom for your grandchildren to admire.

  7. What a darling grandson! :) He is even concerned about the cold frogs. :) I love the post, as always! :)

  8. Lovely post, Isabelle. Family histories are made up of such little stories along with the bigger picture of births, marriages and deaths. We have a little (3"x 2") plaque on a brick in our kitchen, which simply states "Ken's Brick". Ken found a brick in the street when his parents were building their home back in the late forties, and he brought it home. Presented it to his Dad saying "I found this brick and it can be used to help build our new house". His Dad made the plaque and glued it to Ken's brick, and there it stayed until his parents' house was sold, and the new owners asked if he wanted the brick. He said no, but they removed the plaque anyway and gave it to him. Make sure your little frog's history is documented!