Monday, 6 June 2011


(This post is like an amateur version of Countryfile, with really shit production values. You are warned).

I have no time at all, but I think, at the very least, you need to see this, which is my new favourite picture of the moment, from our trip to the seaside at the weekend.

It's the eyes, I think. The mute entreaty. The shame.

Ah, while I'm here, you might as well have the following. When we were at the seaside (Starfish! Gale force winds! Dog burial! Failure to speak adequate Dutch!) weepette broke his collar, so we had to stop off at the evil petshop of all evil on the way back. The evil pet shop of all evil remains as evil as ever.

Look what you can buy:

Yes, that is what you think it is:

I wish I was joking, but sadly I am not. Much as I fantasise about having a flock of highly disapproving owls all of my own, the reality of an owl in a pet shop is extremely wrong, surely of dubious legality, and makes me very sad. I hope whichever twister fucker decides to buy this beautiful WILD creature gets its ear ripped off.

Then, in the next enclosure, this chap who was rightly furious:

Yours for only €950.

I very much hope this sign says "I will eat your fucking face if you come a step closer, pal".

It's ok, it's not all sadness. There was a miniature chestnut Shetland pony that came up to my knees for a bargainous €500, entirely cruelty free (ie. in a field). It would easily have fitted in the boot of the car. And when I have more than five minutes free I have a film of an excellent slow-mo WWF face off between a medium sized tortoise and a flea-ridden, pestilent spiky thing. Who do you think wins? You might be surprised...

Final point:

Which of the following do you consider the best name for a (putative) (future) (possibly ball python) (whatever the fuck that is) snake? Lashes is trying to decide. 11 months, he thinks, is no time at all and his (putative) (future) (etc.) snake needs a name. The shortlist is as follows:

(a) Crochet Venim
(b) Garchakrok
(c) Fluffy
(d) Bertrand
(v) Vertébrale

I have his permission to "demander à l'internet", so do your worst.


Laruca said...

Fluffy all the way!

katyboo1 said...

Bertrand. It gives him a dignity that will allow him to slither up to you unawares and then stab your ankle with his venomous fangs.

Sorry, I am rubbish at snakes so have no idea if pythons have venomous fangs.

dara said...

I'm partial to Bertrand.

Anonymous said...

Vertébrale, definitely. Not only does it seem anatomically appropriate but it has some comedic value as well. At least, it made me smile!

neuroticnotes said...

I'm liking Fluffy.

I believe animals live up to their names.

Alternatively, if that theory doesn't work out, you've left room for the use of accessories.

Win win

Zsófi said...


Anonymous said...

Wait you didn't veto snakes as a possible pet? and now he's talking about something with PYTHON in the name???

Please don't post any pictures of it when it arrives. Or better yet, institute a veto of anything that could strangle the family to death so that it doesn't arrive.

ganching said...

Nedamett is not on the list but it is my word verification and you have to admit, it has a ring to it.

Otherwise Bertrand because it sounds stately and wise.

Alienne said...

I rather like Fluffy, but Bertrand is more appropriate. Mine (child not snake) is now teetering between the monkey (already named following a poll of schoolfriends) and a baby sloth (this week we have mostly been watching grade A crack sloth videos). Please Nathan, don't let her get a B in psychology.

WV is laker; I am doomed, just like Freddie's airline.

Betty M said...

Definitely Bertrand.

Em said...

Um, Bertrand.
But I can't get past the owl in a pet shop. So wrong. I think you should stage an owl-knapping. I will send you a balaclava and glass cutter. Free the owl!

Margaret said...

Bertrand. And a write-in for George. Not Georges. George.

WrathofDawn said...

I suppose Monty is too obvious. Yes. Yes, it is.

Tiddles. No?

Cuddles. No?

St. John (pronounced "Singin"). No?

Perhaps on the theory that you are what you eat... Mouse. No? Souris? No?

Perhaps the particular type of ball phython will help. Just don't get and Ivory or a Lewsistic. They look like giant intestinal parasites. GAH!

WrathofDawn said...

Leusistic. Ack.

Lauren said...

Fluffy, please.

J. said...

Bertrand if it's a girl, Fluffy for a boy. And those owls are just too sad. It's illegal to buy or sell them here, which made me feel a bit culturally superior until I remembered that you can buy a baby alligator by the side of the road in Florida. I learned this when I went to pay for a tank of gas in Chicago and the cashier had his "pet" in a cardboard box behind the counter. He was planning on glassing in the walk-in closet in his bedroom for a habitat because "the kids' closet is too small."

Anonymous said...

Vertebrale seems sssso sssnaky.

Lola said...

I clicked 'Leave a comment' just to see if the word verification came up with a good snake name. Sperat! That'll do nicely, although it would be a better name for a rodent.

Waffle said...

WoD - L will go crazy if I show him that page. They look AMAZING, like Pokemon collectables or something. Well, except for your friend the tapeworm.

Ganching -Nedamett sounds like an ancient Egyption god, I like it.

Lola - Sperat! Because you need sper (spare) rats.

J - Oh god. I have definitely vetoed crocodiles/alligators.

Waffle said...


frau antje said...

This is all you need to know about adequate Dutch. Repeat after me, "What can I get for you, Pimpie?"

Crochet Venim.

carolinefo said...

How come no one has voted yet for Crochet Venim? It is a name of extreme fabulousness, and brings to mind a Miss Marple-like sweet old lady trying to gouge your eyes out with her crochet hook.

Or perhaps the long-lost, unissued Pink Floyd concept album about doing needlework under the influence of mind-altering drugs.
The tape is probably still languishing at the bottom of a box of old hubble-bubble pipes in the late Syd Barrett's attic.

Today I'm going to walk round muttering 'Crochet Venim' to myself repeatedly...

Nina said...

I first read Crochet Venim as 'Crotch Venom'. Either way, I am overwhelmingly in favour of Bertrand. I think it contains the right dose of dignity and mockery.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Why not Robald?


momosyllabic said...

Sir Bertrand Fluffy Garotchok (Sp?--sorry--can't be arsed to scroll back up and check) The First, esq, PhD, MD, MALA, MPHil.

Patience_Crabstick said...

An owl in a pet shop? Who would think such a thing could happen in the European Union.

I like Fluffy for the python name. Bertrand gets second place.

Annie said...

Crochet Venim. A sort of artsy yet effective snake. The best kind.

Pythons have unsettling eyes. Not quite goat-level nerve wracking, but still unsettling - it's something about the color sort of matches to the scale color.

The Ball Python doesn't get to be all that terribly big, either - they're pretty wee for pythons. Lashes is sensible and kindly, selecting the Ball Python as a gentle introduction to domestic herpetology. (I decline to recognize tortoises)

I was neither sensible nor kindly, but I was shockingly persuasive, and thus was able to infiltrate our home with both a burmese and a reticulated python (repulsively named Scotty and Lisa by me), having lured people into giving them to me. My cruel mother forced me to give them up when when Scotty exceeded 14 feet and Lisa hit 16 feet. They were quite heavy by then, and I was going away to college. She didn't want to keep them for herself, strangely, even though they live and live, pythons, as long as they don't get pneumonia.

Krazy Kitty said...

Fluffy Bertrand.

I half wish I had a snake just to call him that.

(Of course my good friend Bertrand would probably kill me for it.)

(All the most incentive, I must say.)

Waffle said...

Involuntary shrieks, Annie, at your tale of MONSTERSNAKES. Amazing. Do they really live a very very long time? How .. delightful.

I looked up "easy snakes", then tried to persuade him to get a corn snake. We compromised on the ball python. I am still hoping he forgets all about it by next May, but I don't fancy my chances much.

Fat Controller said...


Do try and steer Lashes towards a Corn Snake. They are very easy to look after and very attractive. We've got one called 'Crowley' and all he ever asks is a mouse every fortnight and fresh water every couple of days.

Annie said...

they do not live as long as parrots. but 20 years in captivity is not uncommon. when a thing can consume several bunnies each week, it can feel longer yet than it truly is.

My mother, I say in all seriousness, is a miracle. She let me volunteer at the miami museum of science, and managed to appear (without drugs!) completely calm about such incidents as my jittering into the living room to demand a ride to help someone fish an anaconda out of a pool (she took me, but insisted on waiting outside in the car, as it was a school night); my insistence that we would be elated to have 2 ground owls, a kestrel and an iguana stay with us over the holidays, subsequent feeding & tidying up after said owls, kestrel and iguana; picking me up at the ER when I had an allergic reaction to the tarantula and general hearing me out while I raved on about gecko eye surgery, the velvety bad temper of the pygmy rattlesnake and the joys of the everglades.

My mother's ecstasy when I discovered boys, particularly snake-averse football players from alabama, was something to see.

Annie said...

okay, also? the corn snake is a peppy escape artist. it is true that they are much nicer to feed than the python, but my brother's got out and took up residence in the loo, where he (raymond, the snake) would lie in wait for unsuspecting guests in the night, wrapped around the flush handle thing. and then they would touch him, all barely awake and squinty in the sudden light and groggly, and scream and he would slither up them and escape to somewhere while my brother and I threw random things out of closets, my sister yelled "I'm just staying here in my bed" and my mother plied underaged guests with dessert and legal guests with any combination of beverage they wanted.

this went on for months, incidentally. months of screaming guests and flinging towels and gin being drunk like water. ultimately we caught raymond by setting the airconditioning at the smallest possible number and then he turned up in my brother's bed, searching for warmth, and was joyfully received back into the fold.

Seriously. Lashes knows what he is doing. the Ball Python is a good starter model. he'll get used to concussing small rodents in no time!

Waffle said...

Annie, your three comments have been some of my favourites EVER. Please tell me more. Do you have a blog? Please have a blog.

Robert Hudson said...

+ 1

Robert Hudson said...

(Oh, also: Crochet Venim. Although if Garchakrok were Garcharok, which sounds more diabolic, I would have been seriously tempted.)

Rebecca said...

I also think Bertrand.

We have snakes in the garden in Italy. There are some enormous green water snakes that like to hang out round the pool. They apparently are not dangerous, but I prefer not to share the pool with them. I find snakes a bit spooky. How do they move so fast?

There are also vipers, which are very dangerous. My husband heroically chopped the head off one with a garden spade a while ago. The snake, which had been peacefully snoozing by our garden shed, was well pissed off. This seems fair. So the head part, with around 3 cms of body attached was writhing and waving its fangs. It was truly a monstrous sight.

We had recently 'adopted' a stray cat. He had become my eldest son's best friend over the preceding 48 hrs. About TWENTY MINUTES after being chopped off, the viper head managed to bite the cat's paw when it went too close to investigate. The cat whimpered off to the barn with rapidly swelling leg. What to do? Eldest son distraught of course. So we took stray cat, presumably wormy, quite possibly diseased, writhing in agony to vet, where it went into a coma, but amazingly survived with anti-venom and went completely back to normal. Cost me a bloody fortune, but he came back to visit us last month. He is a very nice cat, so I forgave him.

Vipers are very scary. My husband is a hero.

bbonthebrink said...

Bertrand wins my vote.

Circa 1986 I spent 4 months in Oz, travelling and picking grapes and other hippy style things. While spending the weekend at a friend's farm in the middle of nowhere...and I mean the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, I went the the outdoor loo. On my way there I saw what I initially thought was a garden hose. Upon closer study (yes I stood over it and peered for some time) I realised it was a snake. I thought nothing of it, stepped over it and carried on my way. When I went back to the house I mentioned to the family that I had seen a snake. Everybody went beserk The dad grabbed his rifle and they all ran into the garden. Luckily the snake was still there and was promptly shot in two.

In the mean time I could barely stand up, my legs had turned to jelly. Turns out the snake was a brown snake, one of the top 10 of most venomous snakes in the world.

Everybody congratulated me on my bravery and calm. It was no such thing. It was plain ignorance and stupidity.

So that's my snake story, for what it's worth.

Ellie said...

In my 9th grade biology classroom we had a very pleasant, though nasty-smelling, ummm boa constrictor? Python? Big, huge, placid toothless snake, anyway. We'd all take it out and pass it around and you could take notes with the snake draped around your shoulders, it didn't care.

But then one day while it was snoozing peacefully on my friend Jessica, who had arranged it like a fashionable scarf, somebody slammed a textbook on the desk and it made a noise like a bomb. The snake woke up and, in terror, began to squeeze its coils around Jessica's neck, tighter and tighter, to the point where she was gasping for air, tearing and scrabbling at the coils, wide-eyed with horror like the heroine in a bad movie. Somehow we saved Jessica, but not before the snake, still in terror, pointed its tail straight up in the air and released a phenomenal jet of dark yellow-brown, foul-smelling urine in a huge and impressive arc across half the classroom, where it splattered on my shoe and my backpack. The rest of the day was forgettable.

Mara Gaulzetti said...

I agree with Waffle: Annie, please have a blog! Perhaps the greatest blog comments of all time.

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