Monday, 7 June 2010

Look, I saw a BIG snake - not a flipping 'slow worm'

Everybody has a phobia or two don’t they?

Spiders and heights often top the phobia ‘hit list’ but I know of perfectly stable and decent people who are extremely wary of such unusual items as buttons and bananas. Such phobias don’t have to be rational –- they just exist whether we want them to or not.

My phobia, however, is entirely rational and I think people who don’t suffer from it are the truly irrational ones.

I refer of course to snakes.

I just can’t stand the pointless little blighters and that is why it came as something of a shock to come face-to-vile-little-face with my first ever wild one on what should have been a peaceful Sunday afternoon.

I was out walking my dog, Snoopy, in a field near the Wiltshire village of Holt. With the Ipod in the ears and the sun on my back all seemed well with the world until Snoopy started sniffing around what looked like a small black tyre.

Suddenly the ‘tyre’ burst into life, uncoiled itself and revealed that it was a huge, black serpent disguising itself as a harmless tyre in a way that only something as fiendish and (literally) lowdown as a snake could do.

I thought this was time to run – sadly my dog thought it was a time to chase and it took some time to coax the daft ‘mutt’ away from the enormous python-like creature that had shattered the peace of our walk.

In something of a (perfectly understandable) panic I then headed off and met a number of other dog walkers whom I urgently warned about the gigantic and quite possibly man-eating slimy beast that was on their path.

Alarmingly no one seemed the least bit worried (were they mad?) and one foolishly unperturbed lady said ‘I wouldn’t worry – it is probably only a slow worm’.

A what? A worm? This was a freakishly long and clearly deadly brute – to compare it to a ‘worm’ was like saying those who had encountered the shark in Jaws had merely been terrified by a big silver haddock.


Strangely, however, in the days that followed several people agreed with this crazed ‘worm’ theory’. I had personally never even heard of a slow worm and yet people said ‘they are nothing to fret over, they are just legless lizards’. Legless lizards? Isn’t that exactly what a nasty little snake is?

So, I feel it is my duty to warn others in this area that there is clearly a mass of these gargantuan scaly things around and a bizarre conspiracy to pass off God’s biggest mistake (the snake) as something as innocuous as a humble worm.

And talking of God, what was it that wrecked the Garden of Eden? Yes, that is right – a snake. The writing was on the wall from Genesis.

A worm? Pah.

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