A strange encounter (92 days to go…)

by Max Akroyd

March has arrived colder and greyer than a lot of January: a prickly customer for those of us wanting a bit of spring softness.

It’s a question of pressing on with trenching, digging, mulching – safe in the knowledge that there are gentler days ahead. The resolute monotony of these tasks was broken yesterday by the appearance – just an inch away from my spade’s edge – of this colourful character:

It’s a fire salamander, I think. Not uncommon, but not exactly expected in the bottom of a bean trench either! After a few moments of looking at each other like we were the strangest thing on earth, he went back into his hole. I resumed digging, unsure who was hosting who, but glad of his strange presence in my/his garden.