I LIKE SNAILS. They take their houses with them gypsy-fashion and move at an unhurried pace not dissimilar to my urgency-lacking Rima-drift. I met this spiral-shelled fellow yesterday, making his way round a rain filled ash bucket outside our house. We stopped to chat for a bit and I watched him as he moved slowly down a half submerged piece of slate into the water and back up the other side of the bucket, his eye stalks poking out and in all the while.
The unending rain-rain-day-after-day weather at the moment is probably much more up his street than mine. Everyone is fed up with it. I don't remember what the sun looks like. We've even had mudslides on the road out of the village. When will it end?
I am feeling rather snailish at the moment, slow and sliding through puddles.
Gypsies, incidentally, call snails "earthy-horses" or "cattle" because they have horns, and a snail shell given as a love token by a gypsy girl can stir up an unbridled desire in her intended.
In England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland snails were used as divinatory devices by studying their trails in the hopes of finding there in the slime the initial of your spouse-to-be.
They were also used in cures for warts, the ague (malaria), gout, coughs and earache.
Here below is a recipie for Snail-Water, to treat venereal disease. The photograph is taken from the simply wonderful Old Operating Theatre & Herb Garret - a museum in London Bridge which is reached by a narrow winding staircase up to wooden beamed attic of drying herbs and Jars of Things, terrifying operating implements and skeletons, folk medicines and blood stained wooden operating tables. A treat indeed and well worth a visit.
Come out of your hole,
Or else I'll beat you
As black as coal.
Put out your horns
I'll give you bread
An old nursery rhyme.