On our first morning in Marrakech we were woken, not by the call to prayer, but by the dawn chorus. We had noticed the night before that we could hear everything from the courtyard outside our door, and the birds were having a party out there. ”Cheep cheep! Whee ee! Rekki rekki! Warble warble!” So, being awakened, my camera and l went to shoot some birds.
On our third day, we were in our room in the afternoon. Mr S was sat at the desk and l lounged on the bed listening to an audiobook. There was a funny sound which made me take out my headphones and ask Mr S, “Was that a bird?” He said the fridge had made the noise. He received an unconvinced look, but as my ears had been full of Stephen Fry and he was sat by the fridge with unplugged ears, I was in no position to argue.
It was a few hours later when the culprit was discovered, hopping out from behind the fridge. At first we thought he was a frog, but closer acquaintance revealed a toad. A large empty plastic water bottle was hurriedly squashed to form a toad herding paddle and we ushered him out of the French window. Being on the ground floor meant he could toddle off and we need worry about him no more. At that point he became a photo opportunity, during which he thoughtfully declaimed, “Rekki. Rekki.”
We laughed about the “fridge” noise and realised the ants we had seen in the room on the first day had vanished, no doubt into our unexpected visitor. I reflected that this might be the closest I would ever come to having use for a certain Esperanto phrase used in Red Dwarf.*
Proud of our toad herding skills, we slept well. In the morning however, the dawn chorus had been going for some time before, clear as a bell, “Rekki, rekki, rekki! Crekki rekki! Rekki!” We agreed it was coming from inside our room, but where? Once we sat up in bed and spoke it was silent, but we are binaural for a reason and it is very hard to accurately pinpoint a small, camouflaged creature based on a sound heard when half asleep and buried in a pillow. Eventually we found the culprit; a stone colored toad still as a stone in the very corner of the stone colored tiles. Clearly a different creature from the one we evicted the night before, we can only assume they were a mating pair. What could be more fitting than that the young lovers should seek a hotel room in which to share some amorous time? Most romantic, so long as they were not in our room, which now they are not. Hopefully, following the eviction of toad number two, they are now reunited and sneaking, hand in damp, webbed hand, into someone else’s room. We shall henceforth be aware that leaving the French window open even while we are in residence during the day may invite unexpected visitors who, while otherwise undemanding roommates, are unnecessarily loud first thing in the mornings.
*Red Dwarf. Season 2, Episode “Kryten”:
Rimmer: Holly, as the Esperantinos would say, “Bonvolu alsendi la pordiston, laushajne estas rano en mia bideo.” I think we all know what that means.
Holly: Yeah, it means, “Could you send for the hall porter? There appears to be a frog in my bidet.”