I hate snakes.
There is no getting around it. Those creepy, slithery beasts hold no warm fuzzy place in my heart. Growing up in rattlesnake country, having to constantly keep one eye and one ear alert for them once the weather turned warm, watching animals and people do battle with them - yeah, I've had my fill. And due to this, even the harmless ones are evil in my book. I've developed an irrational fear of them and no amount of convincing will change my mind.
When we moved to England, I was thrilled to hear that they only had one poisonous species (the adder) and the non-poisonous ones were few and far between. That suited me just fine. Being able to relax in my garden and not have to worry about the creepy crawlies made me happy. However, keep in mind that once on snake lookout, always on snake lookout. Irrational fears are just that - irrational. One day when my husband was digging through our garden shed and caused some items to shift and make a sound similar to a snake rattle, I leapt a foot or two backwards and prepared for a battle...my husband laughed so hard it brought tears to his eyes.
You may be wondering what brought this topic up today, well, I finally had a face to face encounter with a snake here in England. We were out "adventuring" in the New Forest. It's a great place. Lots of things to see and do...and lots of open area (always a plus in my book). Now, we've been out in the country a lot during our time here, so we are fairly comfortable with what we may or may not run across in our travels. However, I wasn't so lucky this time...
As we were exploring an area near a pond, I heard my husband say "hey honey, did you see that snake in the water." WHAT? Nah, that's not what I heard, surely he was just joking or perhaps he said something else entirely. Then he said it again. Oh man. My heart raced and I looked down at my apparel to assess how inadequate it was - hiking tennis shoes and cropped pants - I knew I should've worn my jeans and boots! The fun had just gone out of my funny bone. Rather than enjoying the surroundings, I began to maintain high alert mode for snakes...all the while my husband and son are blissfully walking around and chattering about things they see.
Cautiously, I continued on my path, figuring that the snake was probably near the other side of the pond where my husband originally spotted it. My mind raced, was it an adder, no couldn't be, husband said he saw it in the water...and somehow I managed to remind myself they didn't have water moccasins in this part of the world. And then, right in front of me, staring out from the water was the snake. Of all the luck. And while I took a step or two backward, the snake did the same...well, actually, it raced off along the water. Husband, hearing my movement and cursing (yes, I have less than kind things to say at moments like this) came over to where I was...with a smirk on his face...the big, tough cowgirl afraid of a little English grass snake, how amusing.
So, here I am, out in the world, away from some of the harder aspects of ranch life, and yet...well, I still hate snakes.