Horror in the sun…

Image: Pixabay D1-TheOne

It could have been worse, it could have been raining, but it was a springlike day of clear sunshine. Unseasonably mild, it was just the type of day for pottering in the garden. So I didn’t mind too much when I noticed the pond pump had slowed to a trickle and would need cleaning.

I have long since figured out a way to do the job efficiently, with minimal fuss and effort. I haul the thing out of the depths with a sturdy nylon line that I keep attached to the submersible unit and, if I’m lucky, it takes no more than ten minutes with rubber gloves and the garden hose to clean the pump.

If I’m not lucky, there will be worms. Wet worms. Wriggling around inside the housing. Sometimes hundreds of them.

I am wet-wormophobic.

I am not afraid of worms, don’t get me wrong here. I know they cannot hurt me. There are places… like in the earth… where worms are good and I am perfectly at ease with them. But wet worms are a different matter.

It all began one awful morning when I was small. It had rained heavily all night and all the grassy banks that sloped down to the path I had to take to school were completely covered with thousands of wet worms…pallid, drowned and unavoidable. You could not take a single step without wet worms underfoot.

Over half a century later, I still cannot ‘do’ wet worms. Even at a distance. I cringe, I react with panic in spite of my own mind berating me… and I squeal. Which is why I have worked out how to clean the pond pump efficiently and with minimal contact.

The fact that I can do it at all is only down to necessity and it illustrates just how far we can go beyond our own emotions when a real need arises. The sturgeon rely on well filtered, well-oxygenated water. If the pump does not work, they struggle to breathe, flounder on the surface and would soon die without help. So I clean their pump.

The trouble is, that this time, it didn’t work. I switched the pump back on… nothing happened. Not a drop of water flowed.

For the next hour, I checked all the electrics, crawled beneath bushes to test and change every fuse in the garden set-up. Still nothing. The only thing left to check was the filter… a huge great affair that sits in a big box in the corner of the garden. Cleaning that is a big job… and one for which I have, in the past, had to call the cavalry.

The trouble is, the whole thing is a wet worm’s paradise and it is writhing with the things.

I have been called brave a good few times in my life for things other people see as courageous, but which were, on the whole, just the result of having to get from ‘A’ to’B’ by keeping moving forward. Courage, my Granny taught me, is about being scared and doing things anyway. A phobia is an irrational, unreasonable fear that can induce extreme reactions such as panic attacks and acute anxiety. I think my Granny would have been proud of me for even attempting to tackle that damnable filter.

On the first occasion I’d had to do it, my younger son had been the cavalry and concern for my sanity made him banish me to the far end of the garden. No such luck this time. The cavalry being unavailable, Nick and I had to tackle the thing. We’d worked out how it has to be done… I heft the stone slab off the top of the box, dismantle the wooden lid, gingerly and at arm’s length pull all the filter sponges out and hose them from a distance, while Nick props himself against the box and bales the rest of the stinky gunge into a bucket that I then have to empty. All the while desperately pretending that I see no worms…

We managed the job… eventually. Aching everywhere, soaked from the spray and covered in mud, we reassembled the thing. With the utmost relief, I stripped off the rubber gloves and headed inside to the switches to see if we had cured the problem. And at the end of it all, the damned thing still wouldn’t work. The electrician my son called in later says he needs a new pump.

I surveyed the pond as the fountain offered the fish a little relief. Feeling something tickle my face and, being a tad concerned it might be a spider from the bushes… they inspire no fear but I treat them with caution since the whole bite episode… I lifted my hand to brush my cheek. It came away with a tiny wet worm stuck to it.

All decorum to the winds, I squealed and wiped it off as if disposing of the evidence of murder… but as I looked down, I saw my jumper covered in the things… half of them squashed, the rest still wriggling…

I draw a veil over the next few minutes… an interlude that would have been at home in both a Hammer Horror film and a slapstick comedy as I scrubbed, screeched and cringed.. All I wanted to do was strip there and then and get in the shower… but home and clean clothes were a fair drive away. I would have half an hour of hell to get through before my ablutions… or so I thought.

“I could use something to eat now,” said my son, who had already refused the cooked lunch I had proposed. And what did he now want cooking for his lunch? Stir-fry… I ask you, would you fancy cooking a pan full of noodles after that?

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She has written a number of books, both alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com
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65 Responses to Horror in the sun…

  1. Deb Whittam says:

    This is great – I giggled the whole way through

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Widdershins says:

    EWWWWWWW!!! … I hope you ordered pizza!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Michael says:

    Ha sorry to laugh but great fun..wriggly wet worms such wonderful alliteration..

    Liked by 2 people

  4. My parents say the only time I act like the girl I am is when confronted by spiders, insects, and the like. I can’t help it. I just act… Well, similar to how you did, actually.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. jenanita01 says:

    I have no idea how you cope, Sue, but after reading your post this morning, I am very glad you do!

    Like

  6. Mary Smith says:

    I’m so sorrry, Sue, but I laughed out loud while reading this though I’m sure it wasn’t remotely amusing at the time. The only thing which causes a simiarl extreme reaction in me is spiders. I know it is irrational but…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Fandango says:

    Ha! Funny, well-told story, Sue. In my old house I had a fountain in the backyard with a circulating pump that needed cleaning every few months, so I can relate to your tale. Fortunately, I never encountered any worms. Just crud and leaves that needed to be removed from the pump.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. LOL. Ugh! I’m not too bad with nature’s lesser-than-cute creatures, but that sounds like a nightmare. It makes a great story though!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I emphasize with you on the worms when I was young I had my own phobias didn’t outgrow them just moved away from them. Good story though,

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Darlene says:

    Oh dear, I felt for you as I read this. I have my own phobias and they are not a laughing matter. But it did make a good story.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. OMG! I pity you having to go through that, Sue. I would have screamed bloody murder and probably had a heart attack. I can’t stand crawlies of any kind.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Eliza Waters says:

    LOL – I can just imagine your dance, Sue. I’m not too fond of squiggly things myself. It doesn’t matter that they can’t hurt me, I still shriek!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I could not do it. I’d give the fish away and fill up the pond before I could. I’ve spent a lifetime trying to make myself NOT scream when I bump into things that totally panic me … Unsuccesfully. All the honor to you. But not me, no no no.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I know my limits. But I’m older than you are and aside from the scary stuff, there’s the reality that I actually CAN’T do it. Garry’s turning 76 and I’m turning 71 and our trying to get the outdoor stuff services ourselves is LONG over,

    Liked by 1 person

  15. dgkaye says:

    Everyone has their personal fears Sue, you’re entitled. My sister is like you when it comes to worms . . . and spiders. I can appreciate the gross out of worms, I don’t care for them myself, but my sister gets hysterical when surrounded. I remember when we were kids walking to school, we had to walk across a park to get to school and when it rained worms were everywhere. She freaked out so bad my brother had to carry her across the field. Now she’s a grown woman who loves all animals large and small, but one spider on the wall she screams at the top of her lungs, lol. 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

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