Friday, 21 September 2018

Tigers and nightcrawlers


The box arrived a couple of weeks ago:

‘FRAGILE - CONTAINS LIVING CREATURES - OPEN IMMEDIATELY’.

I sometimes wonder what couriers make of these packages when they load them onto their vans.  I’d be curious, inclined to press an ear against the taped up cardboard in the hope of hearing something –  a clue - scratching or yawning or purring perhaps.   Checking the corners for a protruding claw or the tip of a scaly tail.   Or smells.  Seepage, even.

Inside this box was a small bag, filled with something soft.  I thought it might wriggle but it didn’t move, and it didn’t make a noise, or smell or seep.  I was very excited….

…My Tigers and European Nightcrawlers had arrived!

I didn’t know before I bought them that worms could have such exotic names.  It’s not just me, is it, for whom  ‘European Nightcrawler’  evokes images of neon cities under black skies, of mysterious women smoking long cigarettes and trains rumbling hypnotically through a dark forest landscape to the soundtrack of Bowie’s  ‘ Low’ album?

So I’m now the proud owner of wonderfully titled wild tigers (Tiger Worms, aka Brandlings and Red Wigglers!) and nightcrawlers, all 500grams of them.  Did you know worms have five hearts? They are also of course eyeless, toothless (ah, imagine a worm with teeth), hermaphrodites, who breed prolifically, and I’ve become the custodian of a small colony making their home inside a special Wormery bin. 

I’m already getting disproportionately fond of them, giving them all names – there’s Mavis, and Fluffy, and Tinkerbell….   No,  it’s okay, don’t worry, I’m just sticking to Worm, it’s easier that way…  What I didn’t know before researching the whole Wormery thing, though, was that they’re quite sensitive creatures and do require some care and attention  – they need time to settle in and adjust to their new surroundings (often trying to escape on their first few nights, I eased them in by leaving a solar light on to start with) and it’s important not to overfeed them, let them get too cold or hot, etc.  So you know, I’ve been like a protective parent these last couple of weeks, checking up on them regularly, chopping their food into tiny pieces, making sure they’ve plenty of bedding to snuggle down into, bless ‘em.  They seem to be doing well so far.

And then the point of it all – they get to devour all our kitchen scraps, and turn it into top quality compost.  So basically, in return for decent food and lodgings, they pay us in shit.  Strangely, it sounds like a good deal to me.


David Bowie: Subterraneans

10 comments:

  1. Uummmm..... ok, I'm sure your new pets will make a blackbrid very happy one day ;o) They do have very exotic names, didn't even know there were different types!

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    Replies
    1. The blackbirds are still going to have to dig for their supper, I'm keeping these worms safe from harm!
      Indeed, the names are brilliant - I had no idea either until I started looking into the worm farm thing, there's a whole world out there devoted to it - these are specific composting species. The tiger worm really is rusty brown and yellow striped, quite beautiful, if you like that sort of thing ;-)
      Perhaps there's potential there for some artistic inspiration, like your moths...?

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  2. What a lovely piece of writing with some fantastically descriptive names - Who knew worms could conjure up images of night trains and louche residents of neon lit cites.


    Good luck with the composting - As you love all sorts of interesting creatures, watching them at work will become a great new hobby.


    Love the image and song of course as well - I love the Thomas Newton character from Man Who Fell to Earth, and the music he made at that time. Welcome back and congrats on a wonderful blog post.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Alyson - I get a bit obsessed with these things! Came up with the idea as an alternative to the normal compost bin we've had for years and the less welcome visitors we've sometimes had as a result of it (the rats - much as I love 'em, would rather not have them taking up residence). So hoping the worms will prove to be the right solution. You're right - finding out about them and watching them at work is fascinating, also an education - just hope they don't go and die on me... I'll do my best.

      Subterraneans sprang to mind for obvious reasons, and you can rarely go wrong with Bowie!

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  3. Replies
    1. Blimey John - I had forgotten all about the Boys/Yobs but yes - quick reminder to self on youtube and transported back a few decades - The Worm Song, of course!

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  4. Ah, is that what they mean by receiving something dirty in the mail? I always wondered.

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  5. Is it me or does European Nightcrawler sound like a not-very-good superhero? An Albanian knock-off, perhaps?

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    Replies
    1. Haha, could be an interesting concept? He slithers around barely seen, tunnelling underground with ease as he tries to avoid his arch enemies, Black Bird and Robin.

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