Friday, May 16, 2008


The National Convention of Snails was held in my garden, this morning.

Effort eluded me.

I left them.

I’ve a cold.

Can’t be bothered to move.

Couldn’t catch a snail if I tried.

And snails - snails they can’t half leg it!

Under-rated as racers; snails are.

I pluck them from walls.

Detach them from gravel.

Tug them from leaves.

Lift them from the soil.

Then, while I’m pretending not to be frightened of slugs and I’m bending round the garden, bravely scooping them onto my trowel - while I’m doing that - half the snails have got out of the bucket and are careering back to finish their breakfasts.

Even on our way to the waste-ground - they keep clambering out.

Briefly, I let go of the jacket with the broken zip that I’m clutching round my chest (to conceal my nightwear) and knock them back in.

Then I go into my tipping and shaking and flinging routine, stopping now and then to say ‘Good Morning’ to dog-walkers.

Today - today I simply couldn’t do it.

I looked at the Sage instead and pretended it was Lavender.

If it were taller. If the flowers were smaller and more densely packed along the spike - and closer to blue than to purple. If the leaves were narrower; less mottled; smelled better and weren't hairy . If it were later in the year - they might be lavender.

Then I would like them.

* * * * *

Ming’s taken my runner beans to the allotment.

I’ve tried to say he should leave them till the ground has dried a little; get a head start with slug traps - put the plants in later.

He says there aren’t slugs on the allotment. Slugs prefer the next one along.


He’s says he’s invited Miss Martin’s chauffeur to supper next week.

(We may not be talking by then.)

There’s a blue-tit bouncing on the broom tree.

The Lilly of the Valley have started to grow.

The bean plants are growing tall.
They can’t stay in pots for ever.

(I’ve bidden them a fond farewell.)

For Tomorrow


Compostings said...

This is just gorgeous poetry that applies to me and an olympic athlete. (If I were taller. If the muscles larger and less densely covered in obesity...)

"If it were taller. If the flowers were smaller and more densely packed along the spike - and closer to blue than to purple. If the leaves were narrower; less mottled; smelled better and weren't hairy . If it were later in the year - they might be lavender."

Stacey said...

Hi Esther,
Your writing is very amusing, I don't know how you sleep at night with all these wonderful things going on in your head. Could we have one glimpse of your garden?

Melanie said...

Esther, those darn snails. I rarely see them here, just the super ugly slug without the charming shell.

You are a good woman, I would have cried to see my runner beans leave home.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

No snails here, thank goodness. Slugs are so much easier to deal with - I just impale them with a chip of wood mulch. (squishy, squishy) I'm glad I'm not the only one out there in the morning in my pjs & a coat. Hope you're feeling better soon, & I hope you like Escargot (it's the perfect revenge).

Brenda Hyde said...

Snails, slugs... they are both gross and aren't snails slugs with armor? Or am I wrong? I cannot smash foot won't do it. It's just too gross. I can't do the tuna can with beer in it because that grosses me out too. I crush eggshells and hope for the best. I don't blame you for skipping a day...

Barbee' said...

Esther, this is beautiful! Marvelous post. If you write this well when you are sick and ailing, maybe you should... oh, well, never mind.

At least you can have sage (it freezes out here) and lavender (same thing - plus too much wet clay). Lily-of-the-valley alone should make the heart content. But, with a stuffy nose, you can't smell that sweet, fresh scent.

Oh, I do hope you will feel better tomorrow.


I hope that you feel better and that those creatures leave you and your garden alone!

garden girl said...

Yuk! There are few things I like less than snails and slugs. Slugs are a major reason I wear gloves in this shady garden. I hate when they get stuck on my finger. I'm glad there aren't snails here.

I agree with Compostings. Beautifully written Esther.

Zoë said...

Hope you feel better soon Esther, colds are miserable.

Have you tried using 'Slug Pubs'? they work well here.

Drown them in beer before lobbing them, that way they can't find their way home, and I have never been woken by one singing bawdy songs either!

You could make you own or most garden centres stock purpose made ones.

VP said...

I'm a big fan of night attire gardening - most civilised :)

Try spearing them with couch grass root - most satisfying. I particularly like the use of a garden weed to get rid of a garden pest.

Enjoyed your comments re nettles over at my place. They look a little alien don't you think?

Have a great weekend :)

VP said...

Oh and do get better soon - hit the enter key a bit too early there...

Esther Montgomery said...

People who would like the Olympic definition of 'Sport' widened - might enjoy the children's poem

'I Would Win the Gold if These Were Olympic Sports'
by Paul Cookson.

Bloggers might especially appreciate the 'Late night endurance computer screen gazing' event.


Esther Montgomery said...

'Compostings' and Barbee - I'm so pleased you like my style of writing!

Having epilepsy has rendered me unemployable in the usual sense - I simply can't guarantee to turn up to work when I'm needed.

Earning a living by writing would be good - but it's not easy to find a way in!


Esther Montgomery said...

Stacey - wonderful things in my head soothe me to sleep!

Glimpsing my garden - but I am showing it to you! - leaf by leaf, flower by flower!


Esther Montgomery said...

Slugs and Snails - I can't spear them or crush them - simply can't.

I tried beer traps - but was so repelled by tins (and Marmite jars) full of swollen, decomposing slugs - I couldn't bring myself to empty them out - so the contents mouldered away, half buried in the earth - which then caved in on them - and it was all very horrible.

I'd rather gather them up and take them to start a new life on waste ground nearby.

(At least snails have shells. I don't mind picking them up by hand.)


Esther Montgomery said...

Thank you everyone for bidding me better.

It's the change of season - lots of us have colds and things.

It will be the same in the Autumn - an outbreak of bugs (especially among parents with school age children!).


Nancy said...

Like you, I had a snail dance in my garden. Sometimes I perform a tap dance, other times, my neighbor recieves new visitors via airmail.