When the worm turns

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - FRONT PAGE -

Be­fore she was born, I had vi­sions of shar­ing the world with my del­i­cate lit­tle flower; pass­ing on lit­tle gems of knowl­edge and giv­ing her the ben­e­fit of my ex­pe­ri­ence.

I thought about us twirling around the gar­den to­gether beam­ing in de­light as we held hands in the sun­shine as lit­tle birds watched and tweeted their joy. Miss Five and I were go­ing to be best friends and she would dote on my ev­ery word.

Nowhere in this soft-fo­cus Lit­tle House on the Prairie day dream did I en­vis­age my­self shriek­ing like a ban­shee while Miss Five re­homed drown­ing worms.

I ad­mit it, I am not much of a gar­dener but I do try and make the ef­fort so it looks nice(ish). Miss Five loves to gar­den. Or to be more pre­cise, she loves to be in charge of wa­ter­ing the plants and dig­ging things up.

In the sum­mer months she takes great de­light in wa­ter­board­ing any poor plant that is brave enough to stick its head above soil, leav­ing it in a pud­dle of sludge, droop­ing and ready to sur­ren­der.

She then turns her at­ten­tion to the soggy worms who come up to the sur­face gasp­ing for air. ‘‘Ooohh, look, a worm!’’ she says in de­light. The poor creature can­not even run away; hav­ing no legs is a bit of a prob­lem when it comes to mak­ing an es­cape. ‘‘Don’t worry lit­tle worm, I’’ve got you,’’ she croons to the pet­ri­fied in­ver­te­brate.

Pick­ing it up by its head (or worse, I mean how do you tell?) she takes it round to the vege patch and lays it down care­fully. She digs a hole with her fin­gers, and puts said worm in. ‘‘Sleep tight wormy,’’ she tells it be­fore pack­ing the soil back in with such force the poor worm would be writ­ing its last will and tes­ta­ment - if it had arms.

‘‘Don’t do that,’’ I tell her,’’you’ll give it a headache.’’ Wip­ing her mud cov­ered hands on what­ever she is wear­ing she stands, hands on hips. ‘‘Worms don’t get headaches,’’ she in­forms me. ‘‘Why not?’’ I make the mis­take of re­ply­ing. ‘‘They don’t have heads silly!’’ There’s no ar­gu­ing with that.

Noth­ing’s more fas­ci­nat­ing to a green-fin­gered five-year-old than a wrig­gly worm (file photo).

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