Hunting The Hodmedod*

Jazz and I didn't see much of interest on our walk apart from a sparrowhawk flashing along Butterfly Alley. We were on a mission to find a snail. I checked out two known thrush anvils and not surprisingly, found only smashed shells. I eventually found a live but hibernating garden snail on a low wall. It had a dried lid of slime, an epiphragm, over the shell mouth, sealing it in against the winter weather. I didn't realise that Cornu aspersum is an introduced species. They were gathered and sold for food as "wallfish". Not wanting to disturb its slumber I returned it to the wall.

The empty snail shell in my pic belongs, I think, to Cepaea nemoralis, the brown-lipped snail. My snail hunt was inspired by today's poem, For A Five-Year-Old by Fleur Adcock.

It's a 'do what I say not what I do' piece about a clay-footed mother's desire to bring up her totally trusting child to be kind and good, a better person than she is herself. It's shocking to read of the mother writing of having drowned her son's kittens. Unfortunately drowning was the chosen method for of disposing of unwanted kittens in Victorian times and right up until the sixties in the country, particularly on farms. :(

I like the thought of the child's chubby hand carefully carrying the snail outside to eat a daffodil. :)

*Hodmedod is East Anglian dialect for snail. 

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