Monday, December 14, 2015

The Life Cycle of Slugs

It has taken me a long time to be able to tell this story for I really hate slugs. They are more loathsome to me than any other creature. My first very close encounter with the horrible slimy things was on the shores of Lough Neagh. I might have been six or seven and my cousin Patrick the same age when I made the mistake of letting him know that I disliked slugs. The ones around the lough shore were very big and black, the kind that seem to skim through coarse grass. Of course he started picking them up and throwing them at me. Of course he did. He was a boy. I'm sure he enjoyed watching me run and hearing my screams of terror. I don't remember if he got in to trouble for it, probably not. I was just relieved that none of his sluggy missiles got caught in my curly hair. Uggh!

But that's not the story - that's just a bit of background. Here's another story. It didn't happen to me but to my sister. It is the Story of the Slug Dance. My third and fourth sisters lived in London when they were very young and not having lots of money they lived in a rather damp ground floor flat. But they were young and enjoying themselves and where they lived didn't matter much to them. One evening they decided to make themselves a treat. I don't remember what it was, maybe custard. Anyway the third sister was standing at the stove, in bare feet, stirring a saucepan when she felt something tickle her foot. She looked down to see a great big slug slithering over her toes. Spoon flung into the air, custard everywhere - she's doing the Slug Dance and fourth sister killing herself laughing at her. I could never have laughed knowing there was a slug in the house. Houses are supposed to be slug free spaces.

Which was why, a while ago, I was very surprised to see two very small slugs climbing the wet room wall. Sometimes one might find its way into the house on a lettuce or cabbage, but two? Crawling side by side up my white panelled walls like two friends out for an evening slither. I disposed of them and thought no more of it. The next day there was another one. Like the other two it was tiny, a slug in it's infancy. I wondered how they were getting in. The next day brought another two until on day seven I said to Bert,

That's seventeen altogether!

And he says,

You're counting them!

As if this was a strange thing!

 I had finally figured it out. I'd brought a house plant in that had summered outside and placed it on the wet room floor. There must have been slug eggs in it which, in the heat of the house, had hatched out so all my little baby slugs thought it was spring and were off looking for food. They were the kind that eats decayed vegetation. Actually good slugs. If one can say that. Of course I had the plant out by the roots, no eggs left but I flung it out anyway. And that was that. Except a couple of days later slugs eighteen and nineteen turned up. I killed them. Then a week went past. We were a slug free zone. I rejoiced. Then slugs twenty and twenty-one appeared. I flushed them down the toilet. That was three weeks ago. It's over. I think.


Grannymar said...

I am with you on the slugs Can't stand them. Used coffee grains are what I use to keep them away from the house.

Nelly said...

I must try that. We had to paint the bottom of the hen meal container with waste oil to keep them from getting in. Not very pleasant to lift the lid and see them all clustered under it. Probably not very hygienic either. Slugs carry a parasite that can affect poultry. Ih - I shiver just thinking of them!