Dens of Earwigs

Jason has just called me to say that he will be home late.

The man who is in charge of the storage unit where we keep all the stuff we have not managed to cram into this house, rang him to tell him that there had been a flood, and could he pop over and make sure that nothing in our unit has been damaged.

I am praying that nothing has been. We keep all our pictures and boxes of books there, and it would be very bad news indeed if they were under water.

From this you may deduce that the rain has been pretty torrential over the last few days.

Yesterday my mum came for lunch.  Afterwards the children were outside in the garden when it started to rain.

They made a den:

What they failed to take into account when creating this den, was the fact that the table clearly has slats on top, with gaps between the slats.  The rain came hammering down, and the water poured through the slats.

They were slightly mystified to begin with, as they had carefully stuck umbrellas round the sides to deflect any sideways rain, but had neglected to waterproof the top where the more traditional up and down rain was now pouring through.

By the time they worked out the design flaw and had hoisted onto the ‘roof’ to open the optimistically named parasol, the rain had stopped, leaving them soaked to the skin and gigantic lakes of water everywhere.

It was a triumph of optimism over bad design and planning. It turns out that Tilly had filled the den with her duvet and pillows from her bed.  By the time she dragged them inside they were sopping wet, and had to be dried on the radiator all night.

This afternoon she came running downstairs in a bait:

‘Mama! Mama! I think there is an earwig nest in my pillows.’

Me: ‘Why do you think that?’

Tilly: ‘Because there is an earwig on my wall!’

Me: ‘I don’t understand the connection Tilly. If there is an earwig on your wall, why would there be an earwig nest in your pillows?’

Tilly: (flapping up and down like a deranged bird): ‘I don’t know! Do earwigs even make nests?’

Me: ‘Yes. I think so, but that’s not the point is it? Why not empty your pillows to make sure there are no more earwigs in there if you think that’s where they came from? And what happened to the earwig on your wall? Shouldn’t you take it outside?’

Tilly: ‘Nooooo! I hate them! And anyway, Derek ate it.’

Me: ‘Oh…well empty your pillows anyway.’

Tilly: ‘I can’t. Urgh!’

I sent her back upstairs to man up.

There is a horrendous banging and crashing noise from above my head.  It sounds like someone moving pianos. I go upstairs to investigate.

It is Tilly.

She is jumping up and down on her pillows, trampling and bouncing for all she is worth.  Derek is sitting on the end of her bed watching in gooseberry eyed amazement.

I ask her what she is doing:

‘I can’t bear the thought of live earwigs being in my pillows, so I’m jumping on them so I can just shake out the bodies for Derek to eat.’

It’s a far cry from sitting in a cardboard box in the rain, outside my granny’s back door, waiting to be washed out to sea.

I remember that experience as being very peaceful indeed, and absolutely no earwigs were harmed in the making of it either.


3 responses to “Dens of Earwigs

  1. Poor Tilly, I hated them too when young, and screamed when one ran out of the party frock that had been laid out for me to put on. I wonder if she’s come across the story/ urban myth in which an earwig gets into a man’s ear and eats its way across his brain. It eventually comes out the other side but has laid its eggs inside his head (urrghh). Idea now discredited, and I gather earwigs lay eggs in holes in the ground anyway, but still, urrghh. Apparently what they really really like is moisture/ dampness, so the insect undoubtedly got into the bedding while it was wet. If everything is now bone dry, all right-minded earwigs will want to leave, hence the one on the wall.

  2. Noreen
    I thought of that story and then decided, on balance not to mention it!

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