ceramic garden worm

The Worm That Returned

When we moved into our house last year, I discovered this in one of the kitchen cupboards:

Some other things we discovered in the house when we moved in:

– Someone’s underwear

– A handbag stuffed with photos – one of which turned out to be of my old boss: spooky!

– Two vacuum cleaners (to be fair, these were actually in the garden: which is where everyone keeps vacuum cleaners, right?)

– A small drawer unit, stuffed with rubbish (Actual rubbish, I mean: I’m not just being randomly rude about other people’s stuff…)

– A large plastic container, stuffed with used cigarette butts (Again, this was in the garden, so fair play…)

– Quite a bit of used clothing (No, none of it was my size…)

– A large amount of financial documents, including loan applications filled with enough personal details to have allowed Terry and I to very easily indulge in a quick spot of identity theft, had we been so inclined – and, of course, to take out a loan in someone else’s name.

From what I’ve heard from other people who’ve moved house, we actually got off pretty lightly with this little list. I was pretty shocked by the sheer amount of STUFF – including very personal things, like lingerie and financial details – that people will leave inside a house they’ve moved out of. Some of the wardrobes, and almost all of the kitchen cupboards, were stuffed with… well, STUFF… when we first got the keys: I actually started to wonder if they’d done a moonlight flit or something, because I just couldn’t fathom why they’d have left so much behind otherwise.

Anyway! The worm! As you can see, it’s a ceramic garden ornament, which is cunningly designed to look like it’s worming its way through your lawn. As you can ALSO see, it has a face. Which is why, as Terry swept through the house, ruthlessly ridding it of every single object that didn’t belong to us (and quite a few that DID, actually. We used the move as an excuse to have a clear-out, and Terry was much more enthusiastic about it than I was…), I took one look at that worm, knew we’d never use it (I mean, we don’t actually HAVE a lawn…)… and then hid it away at the back of the cupboard under the sink, where I was sure Terry wouldn’t find it. Reason?

We don’t throw out anything that has a face.

Reason I picked the cupboard under the sink? Because it’s where we keep the cleaning supplies, and, as such, it’s MY domain, in the same way the cupboard under the STAIRS is Terry’s domain. He would never go in there, so the little worm – which I didn’t actually want, but would never throw away – would be safe. And I wouldn’t have to think about it.

(I know what you’re thinking: why didn’t I just give it away, to charity or something? Mostly because I was knee-deep in unpacking, to be honest, and wasn’t really thinking. I did offer it around some of the people who came to see the new house that week, but, as our experience listing our sofas on Gumtree proved, you just can’t GIVE some stuff away, and apparently ceramic earthworms are in that category. WHO KNEW?)

What I didn’t stop to consider was that we would one day decide to replace the kitchen sink, and that this would involve Terry going into the cupboard underneath it and coming back out with a ceramic worm in his hand.

“Look what I found under the sink!” he said, bursting into the bedroom late one night, as I was getting into bed.

I briefly considered feigning shock, and trying to pretend I totally hadn’t known it was there, but that would have required me to pretend I never clean out my kitchen cupboards, and, you know, I run a tight ship here. Well, other than the parts that are deemed Terry’s Domain, anyway.

“Ah,” I said, shamefaced. “You found my worm.”

Terry looked at it more closely.

“You kept this because it has a face, didn’t you?” he said.

“Yup,” I admitted. “So, er, don’t throw it out, OK?”

That’s how we came to have a cheap ceramic earthworm in our carefully-designed, lawn-free garden. It’s also why I have a sneaking suspicion that the next time Terry wants to buy some ugly electronic item and put it in the livingroom, he’s just going to draw a face on it somewhere. Because I can’t possibly get rid of something with a face, can I?

books by Amber Eve
  • I don’t understand why people leave things behind when they move house… or at least, I didn’t, until I saw this worm! Why would you honestly take that anywhere? The real question is, though, if you move house would you similarly leave it there, or can things with faces also not be left behind…

    November 4, 2014
  • Claire


    That’s quite….phallic!?

    November 4, 2014
  • Here was me thinking that the words ‘ah you found my worm’ would never happen in any conversation ever. Apparently I was wrong

    November 4, 2014
  • Cristina


    Am I the only one who finds that worm kinda cute? I never thought I would say this about a worm though… Cheer up Amber! Maybe one day you will find a chest full of pretty skirts buried in the garden.

    November 4, 2014
  • I’m so glad I’m not the only person who has this problem! Our second shower cap has just started loosening up (this one is a pig’s face and our previous one was a duck’s face). I told Rich that we need a new one and he said “But we’d run out of place on the towel rail”, which is where they live, if that wasn’t obvious. My suggestion was to find a special box where all the shower caps can go to retire. Logical.

    November 4, 2014
  • I’ve been the worst about keeping things with a face. I’ve had to ask people to stop buying me stuffed toys (I’m nearly 30 for Pete’s sake!) because I’ve got nowhere for them.
    I’ve not left anything behind moving because I always clean the place before I leave. Except my last place, I emptied it, but I was angry with my landlord so I only cleaned the bathrooms. That showed him eh!
    I think the worm is adorable though. And a bit silly.

    Fashion and Happy Things

    November 5, 2014
  • Erin


    I would totally put that worm in my garden. I already have a snail, a bird, and 2 garden gnomes. I love tacky garden decorations – not saying the worm is tacky. Clearly he’s lovely!

    November 5, 2014
  • It makes me laugh that whoever sold that worm considered it a “garden essential”. Um.

    November 6, 2014