In cold blood…

I knew what my son was going to say, as he eyed up the weather and the new hosepipe. The one that reaches the huge pond filter at the bottom of his garden…

“It’s a nice day…” Yeah, right. It is when you are still all cosy in bed. I, on the other hand, have already walked the dog, frozen my feet in leaky shoes and know that the pale sun has no warmth in it at all. And my bones say it is going to rain. “We might as well clean the pond filter and the pump. You don’t have much else to do today…”

That was, at least, partly true. I had already got all his housework, shopping, laundry and chores up to date. Mine, on the other hand, were way behind. I still needed to make the curry for his lunch too, and I do that from scratch. And it wasn’t as if I was wearing flimsy shoes and my one good pair of trousers or anything…

And then, there are the wet worms. The leeches, the wet, wriggly things. I have no problem with earthworms… except when they are pale and wet… and then they are anathema. I cringe. Squeal. Feel sick and shudder at the mere sight of them… have done for years, since that fateful day when it rained and washed them all over the path, so that a small child could not walk between them…Being a healthy ecosystem, the filter is heaving with leeches, worms and wriggly things…

Ah well. I could only get wet. And muddy.( Don’t think of the worms…)  And it really would be best to get it done before the winter sets in… it shouldn’t take all that long…

Eight hours later, having dug the thorns out of my scalp where the brambles attacked me in the wind, and recovered from the trauma of a leech attaching itself to the rubber glove, I finally made it home to walk the dog again, start my own housework and laundry and decide I was too cold, wet and tired for anything more complicated than a banana for dinner.

On the whole, though, I was pleased with the day. In spite of everything, I find I have made progress. Armed with rubber gloves, which have hitherto made not an ounce of difference to my phobia, I did not flinch when I pulled out a tangle of weeds and wet worms from the waterfall sump. I had not screamed once at the leeches and I had even managed to squeeze out the gunky, worm-infested filter-sponges without squealing.

This is progress.  My phobia of wet worms, though it is far from being eradicated, is apparently becoming manageable. Exposure therapy is a method of teaching people to cope with phobias. With extreme reluctance and a fair amount of squealing over the past few years, it seems that being obliged to face my fears is working.

It is one of those things that we know to be true… the best way to conquer fear is to face it. A phobia is an irrational fear reaction. In the case of wet worms, I know full well that they can do me no harm. I am quite happy to discuss the matter… as long as there are no wet worms in sight…  and freely admit the irrationality of my reactions. I used to feel the same way about dentists and spiders, but having children whom I did not want to raise with those fears, I covered the fear with a pretence of serenity… and realised that I no longer feared them at all.

There is not a cat in Hades’ chance that I would ever have chosen to face this particular fear in cold blood.   But, needs must… Someone has to clean the damned filter. The fish need it to be clean in order to be healthy and, as my son chose to make the fish part of his life, he has a responsibility for their welfare. My son cannot do it… so, he delegates… and I could no more leave the fish in dirty water than I could neglect Ani… So, like it or not, I face my fears, and, little by little, I see them recede.

About Sue Vincent

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

  1. Dale says:

    Your son is lucky to have you… *shudder!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jenanita01 says:

    Mothers get to do some of the worst jobs in the world, but I think this one beats all!


  3. willowdot21 says:

    Things we do for love 💜💜


  4. Bryntin says:

    Hi, #BryntinsBLT came by your blog today.
    (Unfortunately the BLT bit stands for Blog Leap Tour, not that I am about to bring you a tasty sandwich.)
    I’ll be leaving a link to this post on a #BryntinsBLT post on my blog later today and will now be leaping off to visit someone who has already liked your post before I got here.
    The idea is just to randomly jump around and see where I go in the world and I hope the (sparse but growing) readers of my blog, seeing me discover yours, might leap around the links too.
    (If you have pingbacks turned on you can see where it came from if you like and join in the touring!)
    Anyway, sorry to interrupt. Carry on.


  5. Pingback: #BryntinsBLT: Big Loud Twit – O4FS

  6. I love your fish posts Sue. I don’t mind worms, but spiders………. urgh! Though I am better than I was.


  7. Mary Smith says:

    I did manage to conceal my fear of spiders from David when he was small, even when he brought them in to show me – or let me hold one. I still have a thing about them, especially when one runs towards me.


  8. ksbeth says:

    you are such a good mum


  9. Brave soul. I’m sure the fish appreciate having a clean pond. I once had a dream of finding a basket filled with worms in the pool filter…


  10. Ugh, yuck, Sue. I share your fears. It must be in our DNA. But you’re right that facing them and digging in tends to reduce their impact over time. Yes, I can say that while I cringe just reading this! Congrats on getting the chore done. 🙂


  11. Good gracious, Sue, the things we do for these “special needs” children of ours. I haven’t had to deal with wet worms but there are other things I have to do that are just as bad.


  12. Eliza Waters says:

    Brave lass! 🙂 Good for you for facing down your fears. And the fish I’m sure are happier for it.


  13. dgkaye says:

    You’re a brave mum Sue. I’m with you on worms – yuck! 🙂 xx


  14. Widdershins says:

    It’s leeches for me. Can’t stand the bloodsucking and the way the KNOW when there’s blood in the offing.


  15. While I know what you say is true, I’m still not going anywhere near wriggly creepy crawly bug things, thank you very much!


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