Be Careful What You Wish For

When I got back from holiday I discovered my rosemary bush had died, but I had seen a trailing variety in France and thought I would treat myself, so ordered one from the Internet and planted it on the roof of my small extension. The planting instructions said a sunny aspect, so I thought a perfect spot would be just outside my bedroom window where I also have other herbs, but as it grows bigger I plan to move it to the edge where it can cascade over the wall.

In the years I used to garden for my parents I rarely came across any slugs, so was somewhat horrified when Paul and I moved here, to find this garden overrun with them – but we never got any snails. I had read that slugs will gorge on anything, but the same source informed me that snails are good for the garden as they only eat rotting vegetation. I desperately wished we had snails instead of slugs!

Over the past few years I have notice the slugs diminishing and snails arriving (I cannot discover why this is) and guess what, these snails HAVE NOT READ THE MANUAL! They chomp voraciously on anything green and juicy, leaving death and destruction in their wake!

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Imagine my horror when I looked out of the window one morning and saw two snails chomping merrily on my newly planted rosemary. I was out of the window in a trice, flinging the two culprits off the roof terrace in the general direction of my dustbins below, but then I saw them – another snail and another, rampaging over my 12 sq metres! I didn’t count, but easily 15 of the terrible terrestrial gastropods banqueting on my container plants! I was so angry that they also joined their friends over the side.

When I went around to the bin a short time later I discovered most of them had  done a runner bunk, but I was riddled with guilt – two cracked snail shells and two dead snails. Murderer! Call myself a compassionate carering person? No way, I was fast becoming a serial snail slaughterer and resolved to change my ways, but how could such a slow creature with such a beautiful shell (based on golden mean proportions and something to be admired) cause such devastation?


Next day, armed with a carrier bag I went on my early morning snail hunt and picked off 18 snails. I then transported them to the waste land across the road at the front of the house and carefully placed them one by one on the ground. The following day 11 snails, next day just just one – ha-ha, I’ve cracked it! But the day after there were 12 – and each day I followed the same ritual (transportation across the sea road), but when I returned I found another little critter munching on a pieris! Yesterday a bumper bundle of 36! Who will rid me of these troublesome beasts?

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Born in Liverpool at the end of WW2, but raised in Skelmersdale. I first studied art in Southport from 1960-63 and worked in graphic design till I married. In December 1969 I moved to Zambia with my husband and two young children. There I taught art in the local girls school, illustrated for the National Correspondence College and did all sorts of other artwork, paid and unpaid. In 1978 I divorced and remarried in the summer of 1980. In 1985 I became ill and the following year cancer was diagnosed. There was no treatment available in Zambia and so I had to go to the UK. After recovering from a radium needle implant I went back to Zambia, but 18 months later the cancer recurred and it was off to the UK again for radical surgery. This time I realised I must stay in the UK where treatment was available, so I never returned to Zambia nor my husband. A few months later I applied for a degree course, but two years later the disease metastasised and I spent most of my final year in and out of hospital. It’s been a long hard road, but I’m still plodding on and it is now 24 years since my last cancer treatment. Because of my experience of cancer and surviving against the odds, I try and help others cope with their devastating diagnosis and prognosis.

4 thoughts on “Be Careful What You Wish For”

  1. The children next door saw my mother putting snails in a plastic bag. “What are you doing?” “Collecting snails.” The next day they presented her with a big bag of snails they had found – for her collection 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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