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.