Travelling from Dorset to Dorking in the dark and wet of Thursday night, a strange yet familiar silhouette manifested on the bonnet of the car. As cars came towards us, as we crossed the New Forest, it became apparent that we had a stowaway – Sir Valiant, Brave Snail!
As gardeners, we rarely show mercy to molluscs but I was curious about this brave soul, lifting its sensory antennae to analyse its unusual location. 40mph across the New Forest was followed by 60mph on the M27, and still it travelled back and forth across the bonnet.
We paused at Services and wished it well… and yet it stayed with us all the way to Dorking – intact, if a little discombobulated. If we were allowed to stretch the imagination, we would have sworn it was enjoying the journey – quite exhilarating for the usually sedate snail! It certainly didn’t hide in its shell but rather reached out to understand its changing circumstances.
We arrived in Dorking and said good night to Sir Valiant, wishing it well in its new life. Of course, this story projects a lot of human characteristics onto a snail, nevertheless, surely there are lessons to enjoy from this tale?
Was the snail brave?
Did it make the most of its poor decision to hitch a lift?
Will it make the most of its pastures new?
What can we learn from its example?