Protectively garbed and brows furrowed, Luc and Fabienne peered down at the tray set out on the garden table.
‘Hi you two,’ we cried jovially, ‘are you doing a jigsaw?’ ‘Noooo!,’ snorted Luc, ‘we’re doing Nature! Experiments with slugs...’
Oh! Little Tinkers.
Sure enough, there on the tray were two black shrivelled-things, perhaps lacking the enthusiasm of these eight-year-olds.
‘Look!' continued Luc proudly. ‘We’ve got grass, garlic, ice, snow and chocolate. We’re seeing which they like best.’
‘Yes’ said Fabienne seriously. ‘They tolerated the ice very well, but didn’t seem to like the garlic… ‘ She removed a glove and scribbled some notes.
‘You’re not hurting them, though, are you?’ I whimpered.
‘Of course not!’ tutted Luc, ‘Slugs are one of our favourite things!’ And he wafted a slice of compensatory cucumber at where their eating ends probably were.
Fabienne pointed at a plastic box on the floor: ‘Yeah - See this?’ she growled. ‘This is their new home – we’ve put leaves, sticks, rocks and dirt in it – it’s perfect for them!’
It did actually look very comfy. Why had I never thought of Pet Slugs before…
'I bet you don’t even know what they eat!’ challenged Luc.
‘Well,’ I muttered, ‘They’ve always enjoyed our Pansies… And You’ve just demonstrated that ice is acceptable…’
‘But what they Really like,’ he said with a sigh, ‘Is Kale and Green Lettuce. They like sweet things too, so you can even let them eat cake! Tiny pieces, of course’ he added in the interests of slugs-confronted-by-ignorance.
I’d had No Idea! It seems there’s more to slugs than meets the eye - I wonder if they accept mature members in their Nature Club…
The next time we dropped in on his parents, I couldn’t wait to ask Luc how the slugs were getting on in their custom-constructed aquarium.
‘They’ve gone,’ he shrugged. ‘They could have escaped, I suppose, or maybe a bird ate them...’
He stared at me with a mixture of bafflement and concern: ‘Dolores, you’re not crying, are you?’
The Fenland Reed
19 hours ago