anyone who remembers my last encounter with a snail would, i suspect, have been surprised to see how i reacted to my most recent gastropod meeting. last night i came in from the vege garden with lovely armfuls of lettuce and chinese cabbage (t, this is what the mystery 'evil' plant is apparently)...and someone catching a ride on the cabbage. he happily kept munching and exploring away on the kitchen bench and didn't seem too perturbed by all the discussion, investigations and cameras in his little face. he seemed so full of personality with the waving and retracting of his antennae and his fearless wanderings in a strange place. and i was delighted to find that you can indeed hear them eating, as elizabeth tova bailey described in her book. was actually quite reluctant to let him go and entertained fantasies about my very own snail company, but couldn't bring myself to deprive him of his liberty.