Updated: Oct 15, 2020
I’ve come to the Botanical Gardens in Birmingham to meet a rather unique individual.
He is the keeper of the Queen’s Royal Snail Collection. Not many people realise the importance of this collection.. or that it even exists. Magnus has worked here two years in a small ramshackle hut at the edge of the gardens, unnoticed by many. Quietly beavering away in his remote secluded corner, ignored by the world ...and ignoring the world. Everything for Magnus is slow, especially his subjects, grouped by colour, shape ..and speed. His furrowed brow shows his intense concentration as he peers at his subjects through a large ivory handled magnifying glass. A rather tired figure, red hair covering his head which has long since lost its flame, dark eyes peering.. wrapped in red scarf, rumpled blue dressing gown and purple muddied slippers bearing, what, one assumes was once the royal crest. His focus is all-consuming. Eccentric certainly, committed no doubt. Perhaps one gets accustomed to that pace ...and that scale and it gradually consumes your life. He tells me he sadly can’t grace me with an interview today after all ...the hospital has called and they want to adjust his meds.
[exercise: to write a story on the first three words you hear on the radio]