The Toad From Mandalay

Stowaway in my Speedos

Hello, and hello again.

So, guess what I found when unpacking my suitcase after a tale telling trip to Myanmar? Yep, this little critter. It had stowed away in my Speedos.

I’ve just spent a week sharing stories and running creative writing workshops at International School Yangon, Dulwich College Star City and Dulwich College Yangon and before heading to the airport I swam at the Oasis Country Club and whilst drinking cocktails poolside, left my swimming shorts on a stone to dry. It was then a toad slipped into my Speedos while I was sipping mojitos.

Imagine my surprise when opening my suitcase back in the UK and spying my Speedos pulsating. Steady! At first I feared a rat or a snake, so was suitably relieved to find it was only a toad that had stowed away in one of the pockets.

Burmese toad seeking asylum in UK

My first thought was to put it in a Jiffy bag and post it back to Myanmar. After all, if it had survived being smothered in a pair of chlorinated swim shorts in a tightly packed suitcase chucked into the hold of the plane to Dubai and then transferred to the Emirates’ Airbus to London Heathrow it could survive anything.

But then I thought that would be too cruel as perhaps it was fleeing from fundamentalist Buddhists and seeking asylum in UK.

It’s currently in quarantine in my flat, safely ensconced in a fish tank perched on Granny O’Leary’s old oak table with basic provisions : a flower pot house nestled on a bedding of compost teeming with worms, slugs and woodlice; a peanut butter jar lid replenished daily with rainwater.

After a trawl of the internet using Noodle search engine it seems that our foreign visitor is a banded bullfrog (Kaloula pulchra) and is also known as the chubby frog, Asian painted frog, rice frog, or bubble frog.

The Exotic Animals department at Paignton Zoo has been notified by email and telephone but so far have failed to respond to this amphibian’s airline antics. My eldest son, Ollie has let his mates on social media know about the toad’s travels. They think it’s hilarious and he’s keen to take the wanderer under his wings if necessary.

Oh, by the way, even though it’s called a frog, actually it’s a toad.

And before we say goodbye, the name of the toad is – Speedo.

Last night in Myanmar at the Oasis Country Club,Yangon Toad slipping into Speedos while I’m sipping mojitos