All voyage and permanent crew were invited to an evening of the inaugural Grand Snational – the Great Snail Race of 2009. The race was being run to raise funds for the little known Jubilee ‘Snail’ Trust whose mission is to allow snails of any age, gender or ability to join with other snails in this historic (or was that hysteric?) decade ending race. The race was billed as the culmination of the jumping snails racing calendar and to be widely attended by the snail breeding fraternity and any other respectable snail. Alas, one heckler had to be removed from the course for selling the Big Issue – apparently it was a slug disguised as a homeless snail! Commentary for the race was provided by the renowned Mr Mark Snailderson c/o Radio Slime.
In the parade ring warming up were: first, representing the Aft Port watch, ‘Snarkle’ 9/2; followed by ‘Brian’ for the Aft Starboard team coming in at 6/1. Then came ‘Snailacious’ for Fwd Port 3/1 looking a little sluggish so early in the season and first time out this year; with ‘Sinbad the Snail’ Fwd Stbd hot on their trail (sorry!); finally making an excellent comeback the very fit looking ‘Snellie’ representing the dodgy consortium of the permanent crew. A late entry for ‘Galloping Gastropod’ – sole owner Rosie from the aptly named Lilliesleaf, brought the total of runners to six.
‘Honest Pete’ the bookmaker and his assistant Shiny Tony, announced the tote would be closing and the ‘Going, firm to squidgy’ – but not too firm we hoped!
Race officials for the event – Peter, Tony, Helen, Susie, Linda and Ray. Apparently all snails had passed the garlic test before officials were able to officiate in an official kind of way and the race commence.
The race course looked quite like an asSALT course, with jumps at Salt Cellar and Garlic Gap looking tricky, Lettuce leap lethal, Slippery Stool well slippery, and the odourous task of passing Smelling Road well, not to be sniffed at!
‘Slime out’ shouted watch leader David and they were off! Snarkle took an early lead with Brian hot behind. Of course there were cries of foul play as part of the course came under salt attack. It was neck and neck, as the die were thrown and after a fearsome battle, Snarkle was first over the line and declared the winners, then taken to the winners enclosure and paraded with gusto …..although I think Cookie suggested pesto!
All in all a cracking night in which £60 was raised by 41 sensible adults betting on 6 snails cunningly disguised as walnut shell halves with a further £57.90 on their ultimate auction.
‘We are snailing, we are snailing, home again across the waves….’