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hibernation

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Escargots for Lent!

Did you know that snails are traditionally eaten at Lent? It springs from the notion that if it's a mollusc it must be seafood and therfore by extension theologically classified as 'fish'. Monks were very good at getting round the rules it seems and calling snails 'wallfish' was a good strategy. So they could be eaten on Fridays and Lent was an opportunity not be missed for a positive escargot bonanza! In mild weather like this, after all that interminable rain, snails should be easy to find. They'll be emerging from their winter hibernation all over the place and if you can catch them before they start eating they won't need purging either.

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sleeping snail with the 'duvet' pulled over its head

This is a busy time of year for seasonal snail farmers as it's the beginning of the breeding season. As soon as they emerge from hibernation the snails will be cleaning their shells and hanging about in a public place waiting for a potential mate to pass by. As Cahal Milmo said in his recent lovely article in the Independent, British snail famers just can't keep up with demand from customers for home grown escargots. So if you are thinking about joining this select band of enthusiasts why not come on a snail farming course and learn how to do it? http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/news/snails-farmers-just-cant-keep-up-with-demand-from-british-diners-9057148.html

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Hibernation

Wouldn't you sometimes like to disappear under the duvet and not come out till its all over?

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I do think snails have got the right idea about the way to spend winter. Hibernation certainly seems like a good solution when the rain keeps pouring down and everything's blowing about and trees falling down.

I have lots of lovely snail gifts over the seven years that they've been part of my life. They've mostly been snail ornaments: snail ornaments small The white china snail was given to me by a friend who was throwing stuff away that she didn't want. It was going to the charity shop but she offered it to me first. It's a curious creature with a face like a llama complete with eyes in the wrong place of course. It says bone china Coalport underneath and though I am slightly repelled by its grotesque appearance, throwing it out would be like treading on it. I can just hear the crunch. I found the wire snail at a jumble sale and had to buy it because of the crown on its head. I made an exception when I bought the wooden snail because I always try to buy British and this was made in Thailand but it's so well carved I like it very much. It was the inspiration for commissioning a local wood carver to make me some more. He hand carved a group from sycamore and oak that I put onto my stall at events. I bought them to resell but I don't want to part with any of them.The stars of the show are the glass snails - both presents from close friends. The blue one came at Christmas time a few years ago and has suffered the loss of an antenna. But I can almost believe that it has touched something and retracted temporarily. The green glass snail glows when the sun is low on the horizon, sitting as she does in pride of place leading her flock across the kitchen window sill.

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