There is a day on the Cliffe Mollusc Society’s calendar anticipated with great excitement. It is dreamt of by snails on cold winter nights jammed in between the stones of the walls, just out of poking distance. It is keenly awaited by both the garden and field slugs, skulking in piles of leaves concocting plans of action. The day in question is the one when the dahlias are transplanted from the security of their winter home in the greenhouse out into the wilds of the garden. These plants have reached the point that if they don’t venture out soon they will become institutionalised; like the forty-year old still living at home with mum and dad. So coccinea seedlings, Caribbean Sunset, Twyning’s After Eight, Happy Party and merckii have made up the first tranche, out there tonight with nothing but a sprinkling of Organic Slug Pellets between them and their fate. Let’s hope they are forerunners and not cannon fodder. I have had some help this year from the thrushes who have been doing a fine job, evidenced by the comforting crunch of empty shells on the steps to the potting shed.