Slugs and snails…

Out of the front door I go, to take the rubbish out. And there it is. Crunch. It’s a snail, squashed underfoot. I feel bad, I feel guilt. When I see a snail or slug on the drive, I pick it up and deposit it in a safe place.

Life is all about karma. What you do to someone, the way you behave, will come back on you at some point in the future. And with me it’s not just about people, it’s also about all living creatures.

The other day I came into my office and spotted a small black ball caught in a spider’s web. I picked it out and discovered it was a woodlouse – slightly distressed but able to uncurl itself and scuttle away across the patio. I felt good karma.

I’ve rescued mice and rats (yes, rats), worms, beetles and many a spider. This morning, Ispider-1397870 filled a plastic bottle with water to pour on some plants, and inside was a spider. As it floated to the top, I put my finger into the bottle and rescued it – it let itself down from my finger on a thread, and off it went. More good karma.

If I’m ever on holiday in a villa with a pool, I spend the early part of the morning rescuing all the insects that have fallen into the water overnight. Even the nasty biting ones.

Killing doesn’t come naturally to me. There are insects I dislike, wasps in particular. But if there’s one buzzing around my house I’d still rather catch it and let it go free rather than squash it. If I see a flattened frog on the road, I feel bad for days, even though it wasn’t me that did the deed.

But every spring for years, we’ve had a plague of flies in one of the upstairs rooms. I don’t for the life of me know where they come from, but suddenly there they are, clustered around the window, fat and sluggish. Myfly-1391648 first instinct is to catch as many as possible and fling them out of the window. But when that doesn’t work and the flies keep coming, I have resorted to fly spray. And then I feel guilty for weeks. Bad karma. Death by fly spray can’t be nice.

I feel the same way about slug repellent, which I stopped using some years ago. Rat poison? No thank you.

I even hate spraying weedkiller on my patio weeds – what have they ever done to deserve it? Hence the natural jungle on the way to my front door. I tend to let things just grow. And I’ve been rewarded with violets, pansies, camomile and once a crocus, popping up through the cracks.   buddha-1307401-1920x2560

Perhaps I’m a Buddhist without knowing it. Although I can’t meditate for toffee (though I might for chocolate) and I suspect enlightenment is something well out of reach, as the older I get the more confused I become. Usually about where my glasses are.

So at the end, when my number’s up, I wonder if all those tiny creatures I’ve rescued will come to greet me at the Pearly Gates. Or will some very cross flies or squashed snails intercept me and wreak their revenge?


How wet is a wetsuit

Down in Cornwall for a late summer holiday, the sun came out and sea was sparkling. There was no holding me back, and on the first evening I donned my swimming cossie and threw myself into the surf with gay abandon.

To be fair, it was pretty chilly, but after the first few moments when I wondered briefly whether my heart had actually stopped beating and if I had turned as blue as an uncooked lobster, I was in seventh heaven.

But as I looked around me, all I could see were people, young and old, in wetsuits. Some of them looked faintly shocked at the sight of an aging provocateur splashing about in the waves revealing her glorious white bits.

When did wetsuits become de rigeur, I wonder? For surfing types and intrepid divers who swim into the depths I confess it makes a lot of sense to suit up. But for people skipping waves in the shallows?

Cornwall wetsuits (2)

Childhood memories

Most summer weekends of my childhood were spent on Highcliffe beach, which is just the wrong side of the Hampshire/Dorset border (I’m a Hampshire Hog, you understand). My brothers aRuched 2 (2)nd I would gambol in the sea all day long, wearing unfashionable swimsuits – well everybody did in those days. I have a horrible memory of ruched nylon in a nasty flowery pattern – and did we wear crocheted swimsuits – surely not! (I survived but if you have ever wondered why I have no fashion sense, wonder no more).

Protection from the cold of the English Channel was unheard of. We stayed in the sea or mucked about in rockpools until the sun went down, apart from coming out for the ubiquitous sand-filled picnic lunch. Boiled eggs and sweaty cheese.

I don’t remember moaning about the temperature of the sea, even as a skinny 8 year-old. Then again, we never went abroad for our hols, so we didn’t have anything to compare it with. Perhaps if we’d gone to Tenerife or Benidorm we would have complained.wetsuit all over (2)

“Children these days don’t know they’re born”, sayeth I. Wetsuits, boots and gloves, and sometimes even a balaclava-type head warmer. It’s madness I tell you.We need our children to toughen up!

The cockles of my heart were briefly warmed on our last outing to the beach in Cornwall, when a tiny child tottered past as naked as the day he was born. That’s how you do it! I thought. Then I noticed his parents, both suited up in the funkiest surfy gear, and the cockles went cold. I fear that as soon as they find a wetsuit small enough, the naked child will be swathed in neoprene from head to toe, never to come into contact with bracing English sea water again.

As for me, I will continue to brave the brine with my goosepimples. There’s nothing like it.

(Next year, Greece. Nobody wears wetsuits there).