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Thursday, 24 March 2011

Reasons why one should not look at the carpet when one is getting ready to go to work

As a Bad Start to the day, nothing beats finding four pieces of woodlouse body on your hall carpet just as you're setting off for work.  Symbolically, especially when you're trying to settle into a new job, it sucks.

What makes it even more of a Bad Start is having made friends with said woodlouse at the weekend while it meandered around your living room carpet as you sat with your feet up reading a book.  I'm tempted to claim I was reading Kafka's Metamorphosis, in which he wakes up as a beetle, but I wasn't.  Shame.  These little coincidences are helpful to the blogger when they do happen, but it's no good lying about it because then you get thousands of comments (I wish) saying, 'Oh, I'm reading Metamorphosis too - isn't it fab?' and then you have to lie again in your reply comment and claim you've read all his books and you're a distant relative and had him round to tea on many occasions and ... oh ... it can all get very awkward.

Better to just admit that you were reading 'How to Be a Well Good English Teacher'.  I think that was the title.  I may be wrong.

But Me and Woodlouse were getting on famously and at one point I may even have read bits of 'Well Good English Teacher' out to him while we were relaxing together in the living room.  I may not have, though.  (See above re exaggeration.)

(Friko, I know it should have been 'Woodlouse and I' but somehow that sounds very, very wrong.)

Anyway, back to the woodlouse body parts.  I suspect it was brought from the living room into the hall under the Husband's whopping size 94 boots.  I don't like to speculate on the actual moment of its death, but I think its demise probably went a) massive sudden headache, b) moment of confusion and sudden memories of many life experiences, c) division into four separate parts, all attached to underside of a shoe.

As I put my coat on this morning, I looked down at the four parts of the woodlouse.  Funny how one's mind thinks 'jigsaw puzzle' at these moments, and it was all I could do not to bend down and see if Part A would slot neatly into Part B and then into C and D until ... voila! - back comes Woodlouse, just minus Life.  Then I could have told it that joke, 'What do you call a deer with one eye?'  (No eye deer.)  What do you call a dead deer with one eye?  (Still no eye deer.)'

But that would have been cruel.  And anyway I had to get to work.  And I knew that, if I was late, trying to explain about the woodlouse just wasn't going to wash.


This is a whole one, but it looks Very Dead.  I couldn't find a picture of a quartered one.  And I'm wondering how many other people in the world have typed 'quartered woodlouse' into Google.

25 comments:

  1. I sort of sympathise. When one of our twin granddaughters picked up a stick, recently, with a ladybird attached, we enthused and she responded. Minutes later the ladybird had left the stick (presumably for a quieter life) and we assumed it had flown. Wrong! It was very flat, against a patio slab.

    Who would have thought it possible to get attached to such creatures...although, someone voted Cameron in.

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  2. Are you sure it was the same woodlouse? Oh I know people say they all have individual personalities but really, on the surface, they all look the same to me.

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  3. Oh poor woodlouse. But I would bet that there is not many a woodlouse (quartered or not) that can depart to wherever woodlice go and state with honestly: "I knew Fran, we read together and she loved me!"

    You gave that woodlouses life true meaning Fran and should take comfort in that!

    Hope the new job is okay!

    Anna :o]

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  4. That was a clever post. I am not a fan of creepy crawlers. I don't even know what a woodlouse is. One reason I like to live in a climate that has a very frigid winter. I've been so freaked out by bugs when I lived in Florida, that I slept with a light on for years.

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  5. We have his cousin in the bath upstairs. I noticed him this morning when I was in a hurry and didn't bother to remove him. He was intact (my husband doesn't wear his shoes in the bath) but a bit on the former side.

    We call them slaters in Scotland.

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  6. At last, something to get my mind off bedbugs. Thank you, Me. (Does Friko know that's why 'Woodlouse and I' can't ever be considered correct in your case?)

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  7. I'm afraid that I am not familiar with woodlouse. It looks like a cockroach to me...yuck! I say good riddance.

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  8. That's well hard .
    Who knows what bestsellers you and P.J. Woodlouse could have written together had his life not been cut so tragically short in this way .

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  9. Of course if he'd been P. G . , your success would have been assured . ( these Irish cousins get everywhere ) .

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  10. What a lousy way to start the day...

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  11. wow, you wrote such a great post about such an unpleasant creature - now that's inspiration!x

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  12. I do remember many years ago visiting a friend (who is now a best-selling author and better be nameless). We were all sat around being rather refined and polite when her then young daughter, who was playing on the carpet, stopped, picked up a wood louse and popped it in her mouth and began to chew away with a happy look on her face. We all, of course, pretended that we hadn't seen it.

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  13. Bloody hell. I am impressed that you could see four seperate pieces of woodlouse and recognise that if you put them together they would make a full insect. That's because I am guessing that 25% of a woodlouse looks like a staple.

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  14. Not only is the post priceless, but the comments you've inspired are priceless as well. Who knew a woodlouse could mean so much to so many . . .

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  15. While I was I was reading Kafka's Metamorphosis, to stiffle a raising fear of getting somehow immobile I scrolled through a few unknown blogs. Yours made me laugh, thank you! (You being an Good English Teacher: Pray overlook my strange ways of translation - though I would be very happy if someone took out the red ink to correct) Britta

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  16. You only found a quartered woodlouse on your floor? Consider yourself blessed; I once found a whole, dead woodlouse on my spoon of Weetabix just as I raised it to my lips.
    Somehow, the wholesome, filling flavour of Weetabix was never the same after that.

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  17. I's all rather Kafkaesque isn't it?

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  18. Poor thing. But I'm sure its moment of truth arrived and passed in a painless instant.

    If I befriended a woodlouse, I would probably call it P. G.

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  19. Fran, I would be happy to see a dead woodlouse on my carpet in the morning - beats the hell of cat vomit:)

    May the poor fellow rest in peace!

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  20. I've never tried reading aloud to a woodlouse, are they good listeners? Yours seems to have been a self-help fan so would perhaps not have enjoyed Kate Atkinson's Case Histories, but I thought it brilliant - the humourous take on modern life and the beautifully drawn characters made a lie-in yesterday essential.

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  21. I think it should inspire you to write a poem rhyming "woodlouse" with Wodehouse, as in P.G.

    -- Monica (Lesley's little sister)

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  22. "Oh, I'm reading Metamorphosis too - isn't it fab?' and then you have to lie again in your reply comment and claim you've read all his books and you're a distant relative and had him round to tea on many occasions and"

    Hahahahahaha! I'm so not Googling that bug. I would like to send you a photo of Texas Tree Roach. One showed up on the ceiling of my house the other night and a visiting friend freaked out. I had to get the broom out and hunt it down. Kill it. I usually just think, oh, well, he'll find a better place to live if I just leave him alone.

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  23. Woodlice tend be very dry which is why they are a good find indeed on the carpet compared to squidgy, oozy, brown slime filled insects.....
    Anna May x

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  24. I once became quite fond of a lobster who lived in my fridge for a couple of days before I ate him.
    Lobsters don't look all that different from woodlice.
    Except they're bigger, of course.
    I recall that I felt quite sad at eating something I had played little games with. But then, he didn't play so very well with those rubber bands around his claws.

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  25. NEWS FLASH!!! I just found one of these on my own carpet, an ocean and 6000 miles away from you. That's it, then, no more reading of this blog unless you promise not to do pests.

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