Sunday, 27 December 2009

Letting sleeping dogs lie

I stumbled over the zipped-up bags of clothes on our bedroom floor (substitutes for wardrobes), negotiated my way around the metal poles holding up the ceiling in the hallway, gingerly crept into the kitchen, found the recently moved light switch and overcame my surprise once again that the room looks entirely different from how it did a week ago. Having done all that and on my way to my arsenal of medication, I almost tripped over a fat slug heading in the same direction. The appearance of uninvited guests is somewhat inevitable due to the holes in the walls but it was enough to destroy my illusion that I was destined to go back to sleep at any time soon. I wasn't sure what to do with it. Elongated, shiny and probing its way across the lino, it clearly needed to be stopped. Taking it outside would make me cold and I didn't like the idea of putting it in the bin so that it could squirm its way around the Christmas rubbish. So, I picked up the salt cellar and tipped out a neat ring around it, about 8 inches in diameter. I think I was hoping that after I'd left the kitchen, it would consume the salt and go quietly. Not so. It instantly sensed what I was up to. I'd left it room to reverse and do U-turns, the kind of which I hadn't considered slugs to be capable. A panel of judges sitting on the perimeter would have had their work cut out in criticizing its lightness of movement and manoeuvrability across the dance floor.

Now, here I am, back in bed, wide awake and checking my emails, only to hear that my sister in Australia has problems with wildlife too: bats, mango trees and her dog. You see, she wants the mangoes but so do the bats. The dog could scare away the bats except that the dog isn't nocturnal and obviously, the bats are. It's a bit like the slug problem. Had it been daytime, I would have asked my husband to dispose of the slug and he would have gleefully skewered it or something equally disgusting. He's asleep and not at all nocturnal. Presumably, the reason why we all sleep in shifts is to make room for twice as many creatures to coexist. So, you let sleeping dogs lie and let your slugs and bats do their own things and try not to notice what's going on. Or you write about them.

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