It was that time of year again, the time for the annual Forest Fields Residents association meeting. Ethel was delighted when her name was pulled out of the hat to host the get together. It was usually a gentile affair, a gathering of neighbours sharing their successes of the past year and catching up with old friends. There was always a fine spread laid on too. Ethel wasted no time in grabbing her best linen table cloth out the cupboard and reaching for the glass cake stand to display a perfectly made Victoria Sponge; her best china cups stood filled with Earl Grey tea.
One by one the residents arrived, each bearing gifts for their fellow neighbours and host. The suet cakes lined up ready for the new Goldfinch family, wild cherries hung for the Mr and Mrs Woodpigeon; along came the Bumbles with an offering of their finest honey and the Wiggles, the resident worm family made their way from the compost heap with a fresh offering of cabbage leaves. Everyone tucked in. It was a delightful evening, chatting and laughter could be heard from miles around, until suddenly Mr Bumble purposely cleared his throat and taped his knife against his glass of nectar. He was about to speak.
For many years now the residents had lived in harmony. He explained, he enjoyed his time here in the garden and appreciated all the residents keeping their homes in good order and the noise levels to a minimum. Even Frankie cat had been welcomed with open arms despite being four times the size of some of the longstanding occupants. However, in recent days strange things had been noted in the neighbourhood, especially at night. It had been a particular wet Spring and Mr Bumble had struggled keeping his Bamboo residence dry. He had taken to sourcing his food from the local sunflower forest, but for days now he had been alarmed to find sunflowers viciously chopped at and in some case eaten away all together. An alarming finding indeed thought Ethel. Other residents stepped forward. It seemed most of the attacks happened during the night. Not only had the sunflowers suffered but the courgettes and the rhubarb cul-de-sacs had been demolished too. Ethel had read about climate change, she'd heard about deforestation, but she assumed this happened far away, in places where lemurs lived and panda bears roamed, not in a small Victorian terraced garden in Nottingham. What on earth could be done. It was a mystery.
A knock came at the door. 'It's open' shouted Ethel. Very slowly, very slowly indeed, the door opened and there stood a stranger with all of his belongings on his back. Nobody had seen him before. 'Hello, I hope you don't mind but I'm new to the area. I wonder if I could trouble you for a cup of sugar. My name is Mr Snail and this is Mrs Snail, we're your new neighbours..'
Snail Plush by Laura Frisk
|Snails by WhileSheNaps|
|Snail Cushion by Solitaire|