Wednesday, July 04, 2007

A breakdown of arms exporters, conflict zones, size of armies and spending on weapons was free with the Indy on Monday. It's been interrupting my thoughts since I read it on the train to London. Picking raspberries yesterday evening, two boxes full, I was shocked by the number of slugs on the allotment and wondered what would happen if there was a Biblical style plague of slugs. This weather provokes that kind of thinking. The flash storms, the constantly heavy sky, the floods, create a sense of alarm anyway. But then all these hidden creatures come out. At night my back wall is crawling with slugs and snails. In the kitchen the other morning, a great leopard patterned slug was stretched out on the floorboards. Then there was the allotment. Well, there were vast nests of slugs. Everywhere I stepped, every time I moved aside a raspberry bush to look under the leaves for fruit, on the ground were seething accumulations of them.

And I wondered where I'd send a plague of slugs if I had the power. I think I'd want it sent to all those arms dealers who have hideaways and luxury mansions in Surrey and Virginia Water. This is how the Indy's little supplement worked on me. I imagined all these apparently respectable people with lots of money devoting themselves to their gardens in the home counties. Now if they are arms dealers, it may be that they have no conscience at all about using slug pellets. But my plague of slugs would be pellet resistant. They would be those great leopard slugs, the Arnold Schwarzenenegger of slime, immune to poison and intent on destruction. Not a single lettuce, hosta, dahlia or squash would survive them.

Imagine an infestation of slugs in Surrey gardens...millions of them - every leaf turned to meat. I could probably dream up worse plagues, actually. Slugs would be a mild one. Perhaps the vanguard, the first sign of what was to come, like Camus' rats dying in La Peste.....

Then I started thinking about how to describe the taste of raspberries to someone who'd never eaten one. That is a challenge I don't have time for now. Maybe next week. At the moment I have to set my mind to housing issues and the work I'm doing for a friend. I like the eclectic nature of freelancing when interesting subjects drop through the letter box and the way phrases make their voices heard - the idolatry of materialism. Mmmmm. I like that one. It fits with a plague of slugs. Oh, and a Cornish beer called Doom.

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