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The first intrepid molluscs venture out

ImageWarm weather has arrived - don't anybody remind of the summers when we've had snow in June - I don't want to know! The first of this year's babies has ventured out and Snow Summer Snail Farm is re-opened causing great excitement at Littlebourne Allotments. On the day I arived with the first trolley loads of boxes I was conscious of a certain frisson in the air as I unloaded and gradually more and more people came round to have a look, reassuring themselves no doubt that the fortifications were strong enough to prevent escape. I'm pleased to say the vegetation has grown well with regular watering and now it's started raining again I'm sure the molluscs will think they've gone to heaven.

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There's 400 snails in there - can you see them?

 

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More good books I read in 2013

The sun's out this morning and look what it's brought with it! I can't begrudge this little beauty a few dead leaves.P1000183

When the sky is dark grey for days on end and water pours down the road so you have to wade to cross, it feels like the rain never stops. So reading Instructions for a Heatwave, Maggie O'Farrell's latest novel was quite a relief. I'd forgotten just how hot it was in 1976. I read Maggie O'Farrell's first novel in 2000 when it first came out. A friend and I spent a week of that summer on a creative writing course at UEA. I was making some first tentative steps into writing fiction and still feel embarrassed when I remember those dreadful pieces of prose I struggled to produce. Julia Bell was a wonderful tutor who never made me feel inadequate to the task and she recommended that if we were interested in writing fiction then we needed to read Maggie's first book After You'd Gone. I loved it and looked out for each new book of hers as it arrived. When I bought this latest, the bookshop assistant said she thought Maggie's writing gets better with every book and I think I agree with her. This is a very accomplished book with a riveting storyline and the oppressively hot weather contributes in no small part to its atmosphere. Reading about sun and heat was very welcome when it was so dull and grey outside.

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With snails and I

One the first day of the Apple Festival at Brogdale - the day 'Molluscs and Me' the paperback got launched, a friend suggested I should have called it 'With Snails and I' - rather witty I thought! Here's me launching it:

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It doesn't look as though it was actually raining at that particular moment but, as it usual on Festival Days, the rest of the time it was.Indoors it was apples as far as the eye could see and a long line of people with strange apples in their hands waiting to get them identified.

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I managed to get away from the stall long enough to get some photos of some fellow stallholders but i was kept pretty busy on Saturday with visitors wanting to know more about snails.

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It was good to see Bessie's caravan there so I was guaranteed my fix of green tea and a slice of some wonderful apple, blackberry and almind cake. She was undercover too so need to get wet while feasting.

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Corinne was there as usual with her Creative Kitchen curries. One thing I value when I've been out all day talking about snails is the chance to take home a delicious curry so I can put my feet up instead of cooking. Putting up and taking down a market stall, getting everything in and out of the car, and standing up all day in between is quite exhausting. After a while in the onslaught of the relentless rain, the stall cover started to leak and drip on me and the books. It sagged as it filled with water and then when the wind got underneath it suddenly emptied itself down the necks of the passers - by. Not very good for customer relations! Perhaps next time it won't rain.

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