a Cute Badger

Our Natural Home - A country-woman's guide to England's nature - still no submission but quite a few snakes.

[Having received no submission from Mrs Corkerham, I have published the following letter on the subject of snakes. The correspondent appears to have more knowledge of zoology than our normal correspondent ever displayed. - Ed.]

18 August

Dear Ms Lennier,

It slithers and it hisses and we all know that it bites. But really it is very friendly - it loves to hug and it has a hug to end all hugs.

Ms Lennier - let us be frank: we are over-run, or perhaps over-slithered by snakes. And let us also be clear that this is not a normal state of affairs for an English country village.

Had it been a solitary adder perhaps we would have spoken of it over coffee with loudly hushed tones and a pleasant shiver of fear. There would have been exaggerated tales of its poison and serious plans to tie up all our children in the attic. But we would have known where we stood.

The odd grass-snake and it might have been a convenient excuse to play-up shamelessly to any man who we might want to start thinking protective thoughts. We'd know it was really a glorified worm with less threat than a grasshopper. But we could have pretended!

These, however, are not standard serpents. These are long and getting longer. They are bold and getting bolder and they are covered in chevrons. They seem to like basking on sunny stones. I'm pretty sure, having thought about it, they are not Adders or grass-snakes. I whisper it, and I shall deny saying it if challenged - but we all know... these are immigrants! They are not snakes like us...

The winter, wise women say, will kill them off as their cold blood freezes (poor dears - I notice no-one is planning to give them a winter-fuel allowance) but then - what if we have a mild winter? What if they find a cozy spot under an unminded boiler in someone's cellar? Are we to become the only village in England with more real Boa's than fluffy ones? And would this be good for tourism?

Ms Lennier - the time has come to do something. So please do something.

I suggest bringing out the big guns. I saw that handywoman catching one on the playing-fields earlier this week and stuffing it in a bag. Time for us all to chip in and pay her to rid the village of the slithering things!

Yours sincerely,

Corrine Celia

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