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A slug and a snail

June 5, 2014

A friend invited us round for lunch yesterday, to celebrate my 5oth birthday a few days after the event, to let our small folk play together. Hope and Alfie, her boyfriend.

We sat and chatted, watched them scoot around the kitchen, read a book together, play with play dough, share, squabble and then dance. We all ate, Hope fed Alfie, he patted her arm. It was a very happy time.

Alfie and Hope were doing a monkey dance, twirling round and round, shouting oooo oooo ahhh ahhh ahhh like a pair of small chimpanzees, he tripped over and fell. Tears, cuddles, sleepy request for a nap.

Hope was left on her own, a little crestfallen that her playmate was gone. She scooted, she danced, she made play dough sausages and she looked at the picture book. Then she asked for cheese and followed my friend to the fridge.

I sat back on the sofa with a cup of hot water with a few mint leaves (sneakily torn off her supermarket mint plant). I could hear Hope chatting away in the kitchen. She was telling my friend about one of her current fascinations (along with bird poo which she thankfully wasn’t discussing), slugs and snails.

Her Grandmother is a botanist and is also fascinated by snails. I grew up with 3 giant African snails in a large tank and a mother that would suddenly drop to the floor and instruct us to do the same when she saw an interesting snail which we then, dutifully, had to examine.Granby looked after Hope the other afternoon and they collected a snail and a slug from the garden and kept them to examine and watch. They avidly look at their captives from time to time and Hope talks to them regularly and they both seem to be thriving.

I smiled, as I sat warming my hands on my cup, I love hearing Hope chattering in her excited way, the words get all tangled up when she’s really animated and she waves her hands to illustrate her point. Hope was going into great detail about a slug, “it sticky, it blow bubbles”.

My friend (while being mischievous and great fun) is an elegant soul, very well presented and very unimpressed by things like slugs. She was doing her best to maintain her interest and asked Hope where she’d seen the slug.

Hope pulled herself up to her full height, beamed, spread her arms out and announced very clearly and loudly, “slug in Granby’s BOX”.

At which point my elegant friend guffawed in a very unlady like fashion and looked over at me, I was choking back a fit of ooo-er naughty school girl giggles, we were both 17 and sniggering at that moment thinking about euphemisms (Drop me a note if this is going over your head and I’ll explain). Hope looked around pleased to have elicited such a response and repeated her pronouncement several times over and then shook her head and wandered off to roll out some play dough using a biro as a rolling pin.

My giggling companion and I composed ourselves and and carried on, both I thinking feeling a little guilty about having had the same interpretation of an innocent sentence, and me a little uncomfortable in the context of my wonderful elderly mother… but not that guilty. It was funny, I’m just glad she didn’t announce it more publicly… and it does make you reflect on what they say, how it can be misunderstood and how many pitfalls there are in language, slang and so on.

When we got home I told my mother, I wondered if I should or not, she’s nearly 90 after all and very well ‘brung’ up … she had the same response as my friend, which amused me hugely, and she also composed herself in the same slightly shame faced fashion!

So I figured it would be OK to share it here, after all we have discussed pet or slang names for female body parts before … and yes, the slug and the snail do live in Granby’s box, the plastic one with the holes in the top, the box that came full of tarka dal or sag aloo a few weeks earlier with a take away curry. They’re doing well, the slug and the snail, and will have an additional feast tonight, a little bit of rhubarb leaf, they found the slug on the rhubarb.

I’m off to pick her up now from her childminder, and I did write an abridged version of this in her book just incase Hope came out with the story in the middle of playgroup.

I’d also like to add that I love the way Hope and her Grandmother play together and that she’s becoming a child fascinated with nature and that she isn’t disgusted by or fearful of insects, and that’s down to her Granby encouraging her sense of wonder.

… but we did titter …

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 22, 2014 2:14 pm

    This has just had me sniggering, Mutley style. Hilarious. Very glad that I am not alone in finding it this funny. I am also loving that your daughter is obsessed with slugs and snails – that beats princesses, doesn’t it?

    Anyway, stopped by to have a read and say hello (met you at Britmums Live and sat with you during the BiBs). I’d heard of your blog, but never read it. Now I’m hooked. x

    • June 23, 2014 10:21 pm

      Bless you thank you so much … and yup totally beats princesses!!! Loved meeting you, only sorry not to be there on the Saturday too hope you had a great weekend x

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