Magazine article The Spectator

BOOKENDS on the Snail Trail

Magazine article The Spectator

BOOKENDS on the Snail Trail

Article excerpt

Sna i l s a re supposed to hate eggshel l s . Not the ones in Ruth Brooks's garden. They clamber over the barrier as though it's 'a new ext reme spor t '. D itto ha ir.

And g r it . She t r ies beer, but her young son drinks it. As for coffee grounds (normally a failsafe), the pest s ju st eat them, then attack the f lower s w ith even more v igou r, off their snaily little boxes on caffeine.

But A S low Pa ss ion (Bloom sbu ry, £12.99) i s more than ju st an account of Brooks's battles to save her delphiniums. Her relationship w ith sna i l s i s love-hate, ha s been ever since she d i scovered a colony o f them in the a ir-ra id shelter in her childhood garden.

She pa sses on a l i fet ime's learning, such as the fact that sna i l s eat severa l t imes their own bodyweight every day, somet imes including builder's rubble to top up the l ime level s in their shel l s . …

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