One ineluctable proof of the inferiority of the French has, it seems to Toady, been their habit of eating innocent amphibians. Now - horreur - a UK businessman has started a firm, Britsnail, with the aim of educating fellow Anglo-entrepreneurs in the arcana of mollusc farming. For £120, would-be snail ranchers can be initiated into its mysteries at a one-day seminar organised by a Mr Tony Vaughan in rural Hertfordshire. Much of the necessary skill lies, it seems, in an understanding of the reproductive habits of the helix aspersa maxima, chosen by Vaughan as the ideal British farming snail. Mindful of the recent Madonna furore, Toady will draw a discreet veil over the more excessive of these. Suffice it to say that helix is hermaphroditic, possesses organs referred to by Vaughan as "love darts" and counts "stabbing each other in the bottom" as a form of foreplay. Snails apparently need little encouragement and snail farmers can earn £5,000 a year working an hour a day. Toady is sticking to writing diaries.
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