Wayfarer Column- Pondering Mr Toad’s 30,000 year wait for release

Life throws up many imponderables, if it did not then life would be boring and we would not have anything to ponder over around a warm fireside.

Just imagine the consternation that may have been caused in 1888 when The Times reported that a live toad had been found totally encased in a bed of clay by workmen excavating a railway cutting in Greenock. The toad was totally inactive, well that is understandable, but to be still alive breathing through its nostrils is amazing when you consider that it was encased in clay.

But more was to come, as it was calculated that the toad was between 20-30,000 years old. How it had managed to exist that long preserved in clay is another mystery, but above all think of how boring it must have been for Mr. Toad to have to wait all those years for the workmen to release it.

No mention is made in the report whether it was male or female but nevertheless it is a tale which takes a lot of believing, but you must remember that it was reported in The Times, a very reputable paper, not to be questioned, particularly in those days.

Everyone must have heard of Adam Smith, the famous economist and philosopher, who died in 1790. The last words he uttered were rather prophetic as well as macabre as he told his colleagues ‘I believe we must adjourn this meeting to some other place’.

Adam Smith was considered to have been well ahead of his time in understanding matters of economics including taxation. A man whose works are still being looked upon as definitive and his philosophy given great credit. However his last words were truly prophetic.

Did you know that the world’s tallest hedge is the Meikleour beech hedge near Scone in Perthshire? It was planted in 1746 rising to a height of 120 feet and is 1804 feet long. It is worth a visit as it is only just up the road from Scone Palace but drive slowly otherwise you will miss it. Now Scone Palace is well worth a visit, if only to sit on the replica of the famous ‘Stone of Scone’ which crowned many a Scots king. It makes you appreciate that you did not need a fancy throne to be crowned King of Scots. Life produces many tales to give us something to ponder over such as an advertisement for a butcher’s assistant in Glasgow recommended that applicants, ‘Must be able to cut, skewer and serve a customer’. Ponder over it and I look forward to seeing you next week.