Friday, April 29, 2005

"You Taking The Hiss?"

I heard a snatch of something on the car radio which would've amused me if I'd taken the time to consider the nature of what was a rather bizarre encounter. It was a news item - the sort that's trotted out when most people have just about had enough of the dominant theme of the day - be it war, politics, significant national events, that kind of thing. The sort that really belongs in the - straining for the newsworthy - local rag or in the 'Aint Life Odd' section of the Readers Digest. However (he says as he gets into ALO mode) there was a news report that a baby snake had been found curled up in a bunch of celery at a branch of Sainsbury's somewhere (I didn't catch exactly where) in Lincolnshire.

There was a mild panic in the queue as a local busy-body standing behind the lady trying to pay for her celery pointed out with staggering inaccuracy that she had a spider in her celery (as opposed to her soup.) Curious, the shopper started to poke around with the 'spider' only to learn that it was short of legs to the tune of ... Well eight, rather longer than the average arachnid and displayed a very unspiderly fork-like tongue.

The snake accurately identified by our helpful shoulder-shopper whilst in the store and assuming sufficient control of the situation, invited to Radio 5 Live for interview, wasn't a grass snake " Cos it didn't 'ave those two yellow marks at the either side of 'is 'ead". Therefore it '"ad to be an adder," because the only snake in this country that isn't a grasssnake (they of the famous yellow' ead spots) is necessarily an adder, and to be feared.

It turned out to be a sea-viper from Spain and harmless. There followed an interview of breathtaking mundanity from an inspector from the RSPCA who struggled to make much sense of the whole thing - aside from the fact that celery is grown in Spain on well irrigated land, and, well, that's about it really. He didn't go for broke and make a grab for fame and come over all jokey-blokey. He sounded rather like the nerd-voiced spitting image puppet of John Major and left great chasms in the interview that were begging for slithery jokes, gaping with great gouts of tumbleweed blowing across them, despite Peter Allen's efforts to make this frippery, funny.

Minutes later some grump - and it wasn't me, who could barely contain himself, called 5 Live (this was announced with admirable self deprecation by Peter Allen) and said the interviews carried out in support of this story were the most mind crunchingly, suicide-inviting bore-fest interview(s) ever heard broadcast. Both Allen and I tittered at that.

Good stuff. Thanks for a nice blog.


Chattanooga TN
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