Here be monsters

Here be monsters

Image Nicoleta Ionescu /

A BRITISH family returned from Lanzarote not long ago complaining that they all came down with food poisoning after eating their hotel buffet’s half-cooked beef.

Worse still, they said, they spotted cockroaches near the outdoor dining area. Undercooked beef? Possibly, as the Spanish happily eat it dripping with blood, but I’m surprised about the cockroaches.

They’re still around but less in evidence than formerly, thanks to town hall fumigation programmes. When I first saw people wearing hazmat suits carrying weird equipment and peering into drains in the small inland city where I now live, I was initially worried but reassured to learn they were killing off the cockroach population.

That wasn’t the case many years ago when I lived in a semi-rural area on the coast and cockroaches were still free to roam, along with rats and snakes.

We lived in the bottom half of a rambling old house surrounded by fruit trees, vegetable patches and fallow land which our cats patrolled and hunted. One day, Skittles, the biggest and fiercest, returned with a small snake in his mouth and dropped it at my feet.

I was outside with Marcela our landlady as we gardened together, and I stopped talking and shrieked in horror. Marcela, a countrywoman practically twice my age, raised an eyebrow, bent down and picked up the snake with her secateurs. Reaching for mine she proceeded to snip the dangling snake into neat sections.

“You don’t want one of those getting into the house, now do you,” she said, sensing that I was going to shriek again.

Mopping the porch not long after, I lifted the doormat outside the front door and saw what appeared to be a neatly coiled belt stuck to it. A closer look revealed that it was a slim snake with pretty marking which was quite flattened and very dead. But I shuddered then and shudder now to wonder how many ever made it indoors without my knowing

Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at