I made sure my hands were wet and then picked them up and put the wriggly worms in one of my compost bins, joining countless other worms who live happily in the decaying compost.
Saving the worms is something I do after every heavy rainfall, something I've done for years, ever since I was a kid.
Here's my story on how that started for me a long, long time ago.
Saving the worms
One Saturday, Mum and Dad planned to do some shopping in Market Jew Street in Penzance. As Jimmie was off early snaring rabbits with his friend, Ego James, in Bejowan Woods, I was left in charge of my little brother, 2 year old Charles. Charles was a handful, could never sit still, and was always poking around to see what he could find. As baby of the family, Charles, of course, could do no wrong and always got me into trouble.
When it was time for them to go, Mum gave us both a kiss, a piece of Cadbury’s chocolate to share, and headed off to the bus stop with Dad. We waved goodbye at the front gate and, as they turned the corner, we went to play in the back garden. The first thing we did was pick some goosegogs from the three gooseberry bushes, sat on the grass and ate them as fast as we could. They were sour but good. Really brill.
Suddenly, I felt a spot of rain. A huge black cloud covered the sun and, as I looked up to the sky, it began to pour cats and dogs. I took Charles’s hand, and we ran inside, closed the door and climbed on two kitchen chairs to watch the water running down the kitchen window. We shared our chocolate. The rain pelted down and we moaned that Mum and Dad would be back before the sun came out and we had our fill of goosegogs.
After a few minutes, though, the black cloud moved slowly across the sky and the bright yellow sun reappeared. The rain stopped. We went back out in the garden again, jumping over the puddles on the path. Charles bent over and picked up a worm that was swishing around in one of the puddles, then started finding more and more of them. He held one in his hand and looked sadly at me.
“Poor things.” I said, “They’re drowning. We mustn’t let them drown, Charles. Let’s save ‘em, let’s save ‘em all.” Charles’s eyes brightened. I went inside and got my Old Holborne tobacco tin, ripped up a sheet of yesterday’s newspaper and spread it inside the tin as a lining. We searched over the puddles and put the worms we found on the newspaper to dry then dug a hole and put them a safer place in the garden.
When Mum and Dad came home from shopping, we told them what we had done. “That's great," said Dad, "they're ‘portant, you know, They keep my garden proper healthy. When the garden is healthy, that’s when my plants grow.”
I have saved many hundreds of worms since that day.