A post sending good wishes for New Year 2016
Towards the end of December, my body clock addled after a week of late nights and lazy morning lie-ins, I wake up at 4.30am and unable to get back to sleep.
Fumbling for my glasses, I wander downstairs to make a cup of tea, halting just in time to stop myself from standing, barefoot, on a nocturnal slug that has crawled across our red-tiled kitchen floor.
It is now waiting to pounce on me from behind the fireside chair.
Limaxaphobia (Fear of Slugs)
I cannot abide slugs. They are my third most feared creature, after the snake and the crocodile.
Fortunately, these two animals are seldom seen in Hawkesbury Upton, aside from the green inflatable crocodile that currently resides in our bath, and which reduced a small girl to tears when serving as an accessory to my husband’s Indiana Jones costume in this year’s village show.
I have also just acquired a small potstand in the shape of a rubber snake, which I’m using to help cure my aversion. Just as the longest journey starts with a single step, I reckon I might conquer my ophidiophobia if I tackle it one snake at a time. (Actually, having just discovered fear of snakes is called ophidiophobia, I don’t feel so bad about it.)
Though I feel sick just looking at this unwelcome guest, I am confident that the slug will be gone by morning, so it’s with horror that I realise it’s still there at midday, as I lean against the kitchen sink fielding a call from my friend Susanne, who is phoning from her townhouse in London. I bet she doesn’t have slugs on her kitchen floor.
An hour later, I decide that as no-one else in the house has taken the hint to remove it, I must steel myself to the task. I fetch the dustpan and brush, and I bend down to scoop it up, trying to quell my rising nausea. When I push the armchair out of the way to line up a safer approach, more light falls onto the floor from the big kitchen window, and I do a double take. It looks a bit fluffy for a slug. Surely they don’t grow winter coats, especially when we’ve had such a warm December?
A Mystery Solved
Then my vision clears. It’s not a slug at all, but a lump of fluff, curled in the shape of a Quaver*, i.e. remarkably like a slug in the midst of a three-point turn.
Suddenly the world seems a more benevolent place. It’s a good start to my day, even if it is gone noon and I’ve still not had breakfast. Then it occurs to me what my New Year’s wish should be to my friends and family:
In 2016, may all the slugs on your kitchen floor turn out to be harmless little bits of fluff.
Happy New Year!
*Note for my non-British friends: Quaver = potato-based, cheese-flavoured crispy snack