“Ribbet, ribbet”, says she.



My mate C and her husband J drove, with their two daughters, to spend a weekend with us. I cannot decide whether that was the mark of real friendship (why else would you endure ten hours on appalling roads?), a curiosity to see where I lived and how (far flung, and hanging on white knuckled) or because they had a sudden urge for a road trip.


No matter. They  came. And it was lovely. I was so pleased to see visitors I almost cried. Which would have added fuel to the she’sgoingroundthebend fire.


Though they got plenty of that whilst they were here anyway: plenty of fodder that would suggest I am pitched towards insanity, as if leaning into a stiff breeze, an exerted attempt not to succumb, not to topple right over.


We sit drinking wine as night tumbles upon us. It does that here. You think you’re safe: you think the light is going to hang around for much longer than it does. You think that the slow slide of sun from zenith to its bed somewhere over sand-smudged western horizons will take forever such is the song and dance it makes as it goes: all long fingered shadows tickling the dust whilst the clouds blush, shy witnesses to such careless caresses.


And then night collapses upon us. A blanket of inky blue punctured colander like above us by little holes of starry light which sputter one by one to fragile life.


The frogs start up then: guttural friendly croaking.


‘They’re telling me the rain is coming’, I tell C.


‘The frogs talk to you?’


‘Yes, and they say it’s going to rain soon’, I say.


‘You’ve lived here too long’.


Later I describe my blogging. My forays into cyberspace to link with what Rosie calls Pretend Friends.


C says, ‘That’s nice’. But I don’t think she understands.


I think she thinks I talk to amphibians and have imaginary friends.


I think she thinks that I am going mad.


23 Responses to ““Ribbet, ribbet”, says she.”

  1. Irene Says:

    I think you must be concerned about that yourself very much. Well, don’t be, you still sounds quite sane to me and I assume you are still functioning at a reasonably normal rate. Is drool dripping on your keyboard yet? We’re all a bit crazy here in blogland and the people who don’t understand us are to be pitied, because they are missing out on one great big adventure.

  2. Wife in Hong Kong Says:

    “night collapses upon us” – very apt. Here it’s as though someone switches the lights off at 6.50pm. Enough they seem to say, time to turn in. I am starting to dream obsessively of long summer evenings….

  3. scribbles08 Says:

    You know it’s interesting, I find that people who don’t blog have no interest or idea what it’s about and why we bloggers enjoy it. I think you’re either in or out! I suppose if you’re not interesed in writing, you wouldn’t find it appealing and the people who read blogs and don’t write are another sort altogether! It’s a strange old world!

  4. ann Says:

    You may be living in Outpost and not Paradise, but you are rich in friendships and family and another upside is that it’s still raining in England.

  5. Lindsay Says:

    I lived in Bermuda for a number of years and, yes, the frogs talk OK. All night they talk, talk, talk. One day we found one talking in the loo!

  6. lulu campbell Says:

    All the best people have imaginary friends and talk to frogs Lx

  7. Roberta Says:

    “A blanket of inky blue punctured colander like above us…”

    This is such a beautiful description! A perfect analogy.
    I’ve been reduced to talking to deer. They don’t have much to say but do look at me oddly from time to time.

    Your imaginary friend. x

  8. Potty Mummy Says:

    My only response to friends who look at me uncomprehendingly when they find out how I spend a large portion of my evenings is to tell them not to knock it ’till they’ve tried it. True of some of the best things in life, I’ve found…

    Must go now as my invisible friend has just offered me a glass of imaginery wine. What, drink alone? For real? Now that would be crazy.

  9. Millennium Housewife Says:

    There is no measure for madness only the opinion of others, who may themselves be mad. Indeed we may all be, but who’s to say?

  10. Iota Says:

    I’m sure we’re all a bit mad, but that’s why we like each other.

  11. Rosie Says:

    ah, the joys of explaining your world to the literal-minded when your literary mind was just trying to think of pretty ways to phrase the prosaic.

  12. Roberta Says:

    Please disregard this post as I am just checking to see if I have been “assigned” a particular quilt piece and if so, how did you do this?


  13. Gillian Says:

    Oooh, yes! What’s my quilt block on your blog? Let’s see.

    I’m a keen quilter, and I can kid myself that I would enjoy having solitude to indulge in playing with fabrics. Only for a little while, though. Then I would want to chat over the fence to neighbours, walk up to the park and nod to acquaintances, go to the shops and enjoy air-conditioning.

    I remember walking in Central Australia and hearing the sound of sheep bleating. I came round a corner and saw a waterhole in the creek where all the noise was coming from. Frogs, not sheep.

    I am so glad that you write this blog and share with us.

  14. Gillian Says:

    Will I always get the same block? Let’s see.

  15. nuttycow Says:

    Cicadas are also great conversationalists.

    You’re not going mad RM – promise. People live in different ways and enjoy different things. I name my plants, you think frogs talk to you. We’re both perfectly sane 😉

    I love the thought of darkness collapsing. Because it does in Africa. Over here in the UK, although the nights are drawing in, it’s never really dark. Not with the cars and the streetlamps and the city. In Africa it’s properly dark. At once. I love that.

  16. Expat Mum Says:

    I always think the countryside is very loud despite the lack of traffic and people. Can’t imagine how deafening the outpost would be.

  17. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Irene, thank you for reading. Concerned in a tongue in cheek sort of way. A sort of ”like i care if anybody thinks i’m touched”. The isolation is scarier than thoughts of madness sometimes.

    Wife in HK, and as i write again so my night collapses and i must drag myself around the house to turn on lamps so that i can see my keyboard

    Your right scribbles: you are either in. Or you’re out. I’m in.

    ann: you are so right. as you are retired and crazy so I am isolated and crazy. and the sun’s still shining ‘…

  18. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    and cicadas too, Lindsay as nutty reminds me. and the chickens next door. my my do they talk! one got locked out of her home the other night and told us all about it til dawn.

    lulu c: how true xx

    deer strike me as good listeners, Roberta? are they? rather like imaginery friends, in fact. frogs aren’t. they talk too much.

  19. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    god PM, wonder if you were having a drink with same imaginary friend i was quaffing a bottle of red with that night? chances are. chin chin x

    Indeed Millenium: where is the measure of madness but in the skewed perception of others.

    Indeed, Iota, indeed. x

  20. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    thanks for dropping by Rosie. nice to ”’see” you again.

    You were roberta, you were. You too Gillian. isn’t it weird. who puts them there? does anybody gather them up to stitch to voluminous double bed quilts? perhaps there are quilt makers lurking in blogspere much as the elves put together tired old shoemakers leathers?

    dear nutty: yes, cicadas too. you are quite right. less of them here than i’d like. I like the way the whisper, all at the same time, feigning politeness because they’re not shouting. like the chicken next door did the other night. i swear i could hear her: ”let me in you buggers, let me in, it’s not funny anymore ok?!” No. I am not mad. Not even a little bit.

  21. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    expat mum: perfect, perfect. the outpost roars in my ears most days. silence isn’t really golden. sometimes it screams. thank you for acknowledging that. it helps. x

  22. Mom/Mum Says:

    Well am clearly insane then because I love blogging.

  23. lori Says:

    Dear r.m., i love your blog. it’s easy to feel what it’s like living like you do well, what you share with us anyway. your writing is gorgeous and descriptive, really.

    i realized right when i started this blogging that trying to explain it to others was futile. for me anyway. i decided if anyone asked i would surely share my feelings (wonderful) but i won’t risk anymore eyerolls or bored expressions~um hmmm… and that’s ok.

    sorry about your noisy frogs.

    xx lori

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