Monday, 13 October 2008

Snail trails in Heaven

Botanic Garden Greenhouses

We have been cursed with slugs in our kitchen this year. I have to get up at 6:30 am to get our son onto a train in the mornings, so it's usually quite dark. When I turn on the kitchen light, several of the loathsome creatures have usually been surprised cruising the lino. Dealing with them really takes the edge off my breakfast. We may, however, have discovered the magic answer: copper tape. The theory is that it gives slugs electric shocks, so they won't cross it: it seems to be true. I have covered the threshold of the kitchen door with it, and the outside step shows the evidence: slug skid marks where they have done handbrake turns back into the garden.

Snails, by contrast, can seem positively benign, and I have always admired the wavy trails they leave as they dither across the algae-covered glass of a greenhouse. They have a decorative quality they share with the beautiful suture lines found in ammonite fossils. "Taking a line for a walk", as Paul Klee would say.

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