Biological weapons


Did I use nasty chemicals to poison the slugs? No. I felt too guilty about messing with the garden’s organic credentials. Did I even use Mother Nature’s methods, like salt, to kill them in some ghastly frothing mucus soup? No, I’m too yeller-bellied for that too. Nope, I spent an hour picking up the little blighters one by one, putting them in a bucket, carrying them up the garden and releasing them into the compost bins with a ‘Godspeed, and eat all you can.’ Pfft. Useless mass murderer I am. The result, unfortunately, remains Slugs: 1 million; Crops: zero, but hey ho.

The last couple of weeks have been spent looking for a new housemate. Actually, it’s only been a week, but if you add up the dread beforehand, and accept that time drags badly when you hear yourself say ‘Erm, gas hob, electric oven’ for the fourth time in one afternoon, then yeah, it actually feels like three months. The doorstep yielded the usual grab-bag mix of you-look-nice versus I-find-you-obscurely-frightening, but we finally struck gold and eagerly await our newbie who moves in at the end of the month.

The delay is officially to enable the landlord to give the place a wash and brush-up, but it also gives us time to do the same, by which I mean through the kitchen and bathroom cupboards. After years of two people cohabiting with a floating third, the shared areas have definitely accrued peculiar products of unknown provenance. I’m guessing some of the bilious mouthwashes, rancid pastes, sticky jars and part-flattened tubes will turn out to be the property of some long-gone housemate, products that we have carefully wiped and put back for years without realizing they were already orphans when Twitter launched. ‘No! I thought that was yours’ will be our watchword. Say farewell to the tahini, the mace, the mushroom ketchup, the fish sauce, the minced garlic, the beef jerky marinade and the pickled walnuts. And say hello to a dustbin that smells like a slum drain.


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