Posted in Personal life

Happy New Year – and May All Your Slugs Be Fluffy Ones

A post sending good wishes for New Year 2016

Kitchen floor by sink
Beware of the slug!

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.

Photo of inflatable plastic crocodile in the bath
The only crocodile in Hawkesbury Upton – or at least, I hope so
Photo of rubber potstand in the shape of a coiled snake
The first step to curing my fear of snakes? I hope so

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.

Feigning Courage

Slug-shaped fluff on floor
Call that a slug? I don’t think so…

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.

Photo of Gordon in Highland dress with a teddy bear in his sporran
And it’s Happy New Year from Gordon too (and sporran stowaway Shona, the Hebridean teddy bear)

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




English author of warm, witty cosy mystery novels including the popular Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries and the Gemma Lamb/St Bride's School series. Novels published by Boldwood Books, all other books by Hawkesbury Press. Represented by Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agents. Founder and director of the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival. Course tutor for Jericho Writers. UK Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors. Lives and writes in her Victorian cottage in the heart of the beautiful Cotswold countryside.

6 thoughts on “Happy New Year – and May All Your Slugs Be Fluffy Ones

  1. Just got me wondering how a slug would describe itself when feeling below par, not quite up to snuff(!) or generally feeling slower than usual… There could be a little comp there – if you purposely forget where you left your Roget!
    Happy New Year down there in relatively dry Middle England.

  2. Hee hee, love this post, because a) we have a red kitchen floor, too, and b) your New Year’s wish is similar in vibe to the one I posted on my FB page (“May 2016 deliver to you as much contentment as a twin-comforter overlap brings to Sushi cat.”), and c) I hate slugs, too, and have stepped on them barefoot and it’s not very nice.

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