My husband has a brand new pet. He’s gone all croony, gushy-wushy soft over it. Searching out and collecting up the choicest tit-bits, making sure it’s bedding is appropriately layered and fluffed with the perfect mix of composted leaf litter and mosses, giving it a nice rustic log (complete with snack bar) to play around and lounge under, rummaging around me and my chopping board whilst I’m preparing supper in case the ideal morsel is chucked in the compost bin and in general acting all protective and broody…’Ahhh, sweet’ I hear you say.

Err yes, it would be. Except the new pet is a SLUG!!! No that’s not a typing error – S-L-U-G – yes that’s right slug. And you thought it was going to be a dormouse. I wish.

Now for someone who’s been murderously intent in exterminating the whole slug race all summer, I found this slightly extraordinary to say the least. “But it’s different” he exclaims in hurt indignation ”It’s not the same. It’s rare.” And here comes the best bit…”it’s special, it’s wonderful, it can grown up to thirty centimetres long!” he’s looking at me expectantly as if I should explode into arm flinging congratulations and joyous enthusiasm.

“It’s a slug.” I say “Just a revolting slimy slug. A disgusting slug that has the capacity to be thirty times more disgusting than normal!”

“It’s magnificent. It’s the world’s biggest slug. It’s so lucky to have found one” (he was scrabbling around in the dirt under a hedge when he found it) “It’s called an ash grey or ash black slug. They eat mushrooms and other fungi, not greens in the vegetable garden.  Funny when I tried to find more information about it on the net there wasn’t much, just a page but it had a whole advertising column of naked ladies…” (the mind really does boggle, or maybe not. Whatever turns you on I guess.)

Tonight he was taken up glued to my pc listening avidly to some natural history programme on Radio 4 where a friend of his (another poor misguided soul) was scratching about on Dartmoor trying to find more of the monstrosities. Afterwards he came to find me to tell me the exciting news that slugs are obviously hugely popular as said programme was broadcast at 6.30am on Sunday morning “which shows they must have quite a following”.  Yes, he was serious I assure you. Are you up a six on a Sunday morning with your ear up close and personal to the radio listening to a programme about slugs? No, I thought not.

I’ve offered to be in charge of feeding it. I’m nice and supportive like that. I’m off now to give it some food (a crock full of salt!).  Bye-bye

robert's new baby

ahh - now isn't that cute!