Sunday, 23 August 2009

What a spade is meant to be used for

When you have kids you have to censor yourself for the first few years. You try not to swear and have conversations that are gritty/adult in front of your young.

I think my folks self-censored until I was about 12. It was then that we watched Fatal Attraction together. After we'd all watched Glenn Close and Michael Douglas at it in that lift the occasional swear word seemed lame, even polite.

With my little boys I try my hardest not to swear which can be difficult as frankly I have a bit of a potty mouth.

Also, it is important to look neutral and unmoved by things that scare me cos I don't want my scaredness to be catching. I have to disguise my feelings.

A lot.

Especially when it comes to wildlife.

I’ll be honest: it’s not for me.

You lot though seem pretty keen on fur and feathers and scales. I don't like any of it really but my ferocious frightened hatred is reserved for scales and everything associated.

I am talking about snakes.

Snakes are evil and nasty and should be eliminated. If I had my way we'd all do a St. Patrick and wipe them out. The weapon of choice would be a spade: get chopping!! Line 'em up, arm yourself with a Joseph Bentley Longhandled Old English Spade, tread down and chop! And again! And again! And again!

However, my terrified, murderous inclinations have to be pacified with my babies around.

Snakes feature regularily on kids tv shows. All happy and smiley and neotonised. No vemon or evil vendetta in sight. Just symmetrical patterns and big eyes. It drives me insane.
Voice overs describe snakes as gorgeous looking creatures with kind faces and slender bodies.
WRONG! Snakes, or if we use the correct term, bastards (my friend Keatesy and I renamed the species several years ago) are not pretty. No they are not.

They are evil wanking bastards who should be chopped up with a spade.

Acting normal, or not looking like you are lying gets more commonplace the older your children get.

I have a 2 year old and a 1 year old so I’m pretty Billy Liar these days.

"Snakes? Oh! Aren’t they super? Look how they wiggle and squirm and play! What lovely things they are! Their little eyes are perfectly adequate for their needs and not creepy at all. And that tongue business is fun! I know loads of people, who don’t have scales, who smell things that way. Awesome!"

I genuinely think there is a world conspiracy amongst snakes to wipe me out.
They want me gone. I haven’t actually met a real live snake in the real live world yet but I know they are there, bidding their time.

I usually have to go to the loo in the night. When I toddle into the WC at 3am I always check to see if there is a snake on the bathroom floor. Or coming out of the toilet bowl.

According to the internet they turn up at these locations a lot. Or in holdalls on buses in Preston. (I just shuddered thinking about that.)

My fear means I am prepared. I read about them. This will help me surely? When is education a waste?

About ten years ago I was on the Bakerloo line ingesting a book called “The Snake Bites Survivor Guide”. (A great read, if a little snakey.) So engrossed was I that when someone got on wearing black boots at Regents Park I was SURE it was a black mamba. I jumped. And shuddered (See? They make me do that a lot.)


What a tit.

It doesn’t end there.

The other day I was concentrating on setting up something to record on my Sky Plus (probably a series about anacondas) when I jumped out of my non scaley skin again. Something was moving at my feet. Obviously it was a snake. Er, on second look it was the dog. A 70% Yorkshire terrier type mutt. Not even slightly snakey or venomous or bitey.

I am going to have to lie whenever I see a snake on tv or (good grief, help me) in person until my boys are old enough to realise I have issues which may or may not be Freudian.

If you are wondering, yes I have seen Snakes on a Plane. I saw it at the cinema and screamed properly twice during the showing. That film has a happy ending cos they all die.


  1. Last year there was a chap with a pet snake at our allotment show.

    That is not a euphemism.

    He wasn't there this year.

    You'd have enjoyed it. Coconut shy, bonnie baby competition and prize onions.