• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 07
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There are slugs in our compost bin, usually clinging to the lid, poised to make a bid for freedom. Full size slugs, despite our kitchen being up on the first floor, as far from any openable windows as is possible in a converted workshop, tucked mid-terrace into a cobbled mews. We also have snails on our roof terrace, two storeys up from the road, a good kilometre’s circumference of pavement separating us from any proper outdoor space.

The slugs in the compost apparently grow into adulthood from baby slugs that have migrated in with the organic greens we bring home from the farmers’ market. When I tear off and discard woody outer leaves I never see any baby slugs clinging to the stems, which makes me wonder about the ones clinging to the leaves that I rinse and put in the salad bowl. I try not to think about those. I am not a vegetarian after all.

The snails apparently get dropped on the roof terrace by seagulls and other messy birds scavenging above London. They leave shiny, slimy trails as they wander across the wooden slats. Occasionally I find one in the bathroom, ambitiously having inched its way down half a corridor, under the door, and up onto the sink. I always flush it down the toilet without guilt.