I’ve always had a bit of a boyish fascination with snakes – so when one turned up on our balcony the other night I was actually quite excited.
Without taking any daft risks, I got as close as I could to take a couple of pictures and then summoned our daughter, Emma, so we could both watch together as this beautiful grey-and-black creature with its delicate ace-of-spades head explored the veranda, its tongue flicking in and out as it tested its environment.
Bec was out at the time helping our new neighbour Tommy welcome guests to his holiday accommodation so I thought it best to text a warning of our visitor so, when she came in, she wouldn’t step on it in the dark.
But, within minutes, a reply came back urging us to stay indoors; this snake was a killer and Tommy would be round urgently to protect us.
Apparently, my text whipped up a bit of a storm in the Ozturk household as brothers were dispatched for a gun and ammunition while Tommy hurriedly finished off his welcome procedure. At one point Bec said it seemed the whole clan would be descending on our property with pitchforks and flaming torches to rid us of the beast.
In the end it was just Tommy – but he was tense and serious, urging Bec inside immediately on their return before demanding precise information on where I’d last seen the snake.
“This one bite you, hospital would be no good,” he warned, stalking round the patio with a torch in one hand and shotgun in the other.
To be honest, a moment later when I spotted the snake, gliding gracefully through fallen vine leaves and heading for our boundary wall, I was reluctant to point it out as I knew what was coming next.
Two blasts with the shotgun, and our snake was suddenly very dead.
Of course, Tommy was right when he pointed out that, if it had made a permanent home in our garden, Emma could quite easily step on it by accident one day or perhaps one of the cats would be tempted to try it out as a plaything.
But a bit of me was batting for Team Snake – and I can’t help feel a little guilty that it was me who summoned its swift and ruthless executioner.