I’ve been using the nick of “snail” for a bloody long time now, at least 25 years or so and this year may even be the 30th. My memory of those times is rather hazy but 1987 was my first year of uni and the year I found usenet which became a home of sorts for many years to come. That means I have been calling myself “snail” for around three decades. Now that is scary.
My original life plan had been to go to uni and study computer science for 3 years, graduate, work for a couple of years then spend a couple of years travelling the world. I did all those things but the timeline was much, much longer. I didn’t officially graduate in compsci though I did complete all 3 years and ended up with a BA with a double major in Philosophy and History & Philosophy of Science. Followed by a Master of Information Management (Librarianship) to celebrate my 10th year, or so, of uni :)
Somewhere along the way, I started collecting snails.
I think it was in 1999 when I finally made it overseas for the first time. Not quite a 2 year trip as I originally planned but a decent 4 months at least and made it to the US and Europe. I spent quite a bit of time in London on that first trip and may have overused my sister’s generosity in letting me stay at her place as she’d been living in London for some years. I spent most days out exploring and I happened into a manchester shop as you do. I still vaguely recall that shop and the bin of stuffed toys downstairs. In that bin was this snail and I think it was only a few quid and I had to have it. So I bought it and it has been with me ever since. It normally resides on the bookcase beside my bed. That was my first snail.
For some years now, I’ve been wanting to document all my snails, as I think I have close to 40 now. I’ve taken photos of most of them with a few to go. I used to have an actual, rocking horse snail ie a real rocking snail for toddlers. However it felt a wee bit weird as I don’t have kids myself. Plus it was fairly large and I never did find the right spot for it. Ultimately, when my cousin had a baby, I gave it to them and they assure me their daughter loves it.