This week has been one of the best, the weather has been unbelievable and I have been outside for most of it, taking school groups rockpooling inspiring them with nature in one of the most beautiful places in the world: Wembury.
One of the things that I have been trying to get better at recently is cycling to work, this week I have managed to cycle to work three times. In the heat and with the incredibly steep hills it has been quite hard and I have been tempted to drive, especially when I have been passed on my bike by co- workers waving in their cars, whilst I have been battling up grueling hills beetroot faced, covered in sweat fit to collapse.
Yesterday I had a moment of madness and decided to get stuck into my marathon training. Usually it takes me about 40 minutes to cycle back from work to…
The highlight of the week was definitely my encounter with an adder.
A slightly flustered man came down to the marine centre, reporting an adder up at the church which is just up the hill from us. Initially we think nothing of it, there are adders all around the place, the church even has a sign in the graveyard saying look before you kneel. Out of curiosity I wander up the hill. I have never seen an adder up close so I am quite excited. This is one of the few venomous animals we have here in Britain! Upon arrival at the church it becomes clear why the man seemed slightly agitated. As we get closer we see the mans girfriend and the church warden are standing close to the church door. I ask them where the adder is and they point to the door. I look a bit closer and there wedged in between the door and the frame is an adder about 40 centimeters long. What a beautiful animal this is!
The couple are preparing for their wedding and unfortunately because of the adder can’t get into the church. I ask if there is another way they can get into the church, but it becomes apparent that the other doors are bolted from the inside. This is the only way in. Ideally I would have liked to leave the snake and let it move on, It probably moved into it’s current hiding place because they startled it. But as adders are venomous (though it probably wouldn’t kill a human), we couldn’t leave it there, just in case an unwitting person came along and was bitten. So I started trying to gently coax the snake out. After trying this for a while it became clear that the snake was staying put. Quite sensibly too, it was a very safe position.
So changing tack I went back to the marine centre for reinforcements and came back with some litter pickers, these would be my improvised snake tongs. I wanted to open the door to the church door slightly so that I could grab the snake, but needed to be careful about it as I didn’t want the snake going into the church and hiding in an even less accessible place. So carefully, I opened the door and the snake coiled up in the corner quite nicely, then I picked it up very carefully with the litter pickers and put it in a box and that was that really.
The couple went back to their wedding preparation now armed with a great tale to tell at their wedding, I did joke with them that I may have saved their marriage. We soon released the snake In some nearby bushes where it slithered off quite happily into the wild.