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General

So I grew up in a small, remote village in the countryside of north-east Scotland and from a very young age I was encouraged to explore and respect nature, wildlife and the environment. I grew up with the normal family pets, a loyal golden retriever called Zoe and a tabby pussy cat called Marigold. They were both very lovely, RIP. Oh and of course my own list of hamsters, Victor, Jigsaw and Horny, yes Horny, as well as a little pond of tadpoles and frogs. Sounds normal enough right? Yes well I took my animal obsession to another level as a child as you will soon discover, we shall start with bone collecting!

Bones

My Dad and I often walked Zoe to an area we called “rabbit world”, this place had an abundance of rabbits, and I mean they were bloody everywhere along with the odd badger, fox, deer and occasionally we would spot a big cat type panther lurking in the bushes. Just a wee note, the history of the area dates back to a time whereby exotic animal‘s were allowed as pets and due to reinforcing animal laws against keeping such animals, many were let loose into the wild. Anyways, while Zoe was chasing rabbits and rolling in dead fish by the river, me and my dad use to go on adventures and there were always several predatory killed remains of animals, and me being the weirdo that I am, I liked to collect the bones. I wasn’t fussy; I liked all bones of anything, skulls, limbs etc. I use to keep them on my bedroom windowsill along with my several dried out dead crabs. Sounds disgusting doesn’t it. Not sure what my thought behind this collection was but it does sound like the beginning of a serial killer biography haha!

Snails And Slugs

I really, really liked snails, not so much slugs but snails definitely were my favourite invertebrate as a child. Slugs were to slimy and gooey for my liking and those bloody yellow ones use to secrete horrible, sticky stuff when you tried to touch them. This did not stop myself, my friends Fiona and Stephanie trying to collect them one day in a forest by sticking them in our juice carton. I can’t rely recall what happened to them after that but pretty sure we didn’t keep them. Snails on the other hand were like a childhood craze in our neighbourhood along with tamagotchi’s, pogs, yo-yo’s, you remember. Me and my best friend Louise both had a fishtank-like container for them. I use to always feed them lettuce and stuff and what’s stranger is that I put them on the swing and pushed them and chucked them down the slide; you never know they might have enjoyed it. They also all had names, I use to paint their shell’s different colours with nail varnish and had an inventory of who was who in my notebook, sad child. I remember to this day a very traumatic experience, all my snails were out playing in my bedroom slithering across my carpet (lovely) and my friend Greg got up and stood on one and it squished everywhere. I remember crying hysterically over this 😦 He gave me one of his snails haha. It’s funny actually because I was working in Spain a couple of years ago and snails seemed to be attracted to our path in the garden and every morning we would wake to squished ones like oh no, my friend Angela and I must stand on them when drunk and in the dark. Her boyfriend use to have to scoop them up every day.

Peachy, Woodlice And The Earwig

Just a quick note on woodlice, like the snails they were also painted in nail varnish and had names uuurrrggghhh.

Peachy, my beloved maggot! Hahaha, I am being genuinely serious. So one day, I was digging n the garden looking for treasure as you do and I came across this worm/maggot thing, looked like a mix between the two to be honest. Not sure what it was but either way I took a shine to it, so this is what I did; I took a plastic cup filled half with soil and stuck it in there and pretty much left it. I checked on it everyday which I named peachy and use to put it in my bicycle basket when I cycled to the shop or just out to play. One day I came home and peachy and the cup was gone, turned out my mum through it out thinking it was rubbish; I was devastated.

The earwig, thinking back yuck, that little browny-black insect with pincers uuurrrghhh. I kept one as a pet, in a petri-glass cellotaped together in which it was given one drop of water a day to feed, nutritional haha. The sad thing is, this earwig went everywhere with me; was in my school bag at school, my briefcase when i was playing, yes I walked around with a black briefcase and generally everywhere. Can’t remember what happened to it, I imagine, it probably died.

The Spiders Nest

I’m pretty certain my arachnophobia has mostly arisen due to this. My dad was going to build a shed, all the materials use to lay in the back left corner of the garden. One day I approached it and it was covered in hundreds, maybe thousands of fast, scattering spiders. I do not mean the small ones either, I mean the house-spider lookalikes which are fairly large with horribly large abdominal’s. They were just constantly running in and out of gaps, over the top and around the whole area. As like a 6-year-old, I really, really didn’t like it and consequently Greg and myself use to spend hours with big metal shovels trying to smack them to get rid of them. After a few days we must have gave-up as not much progress was made, ultimately I just avoided the area.

Altogether

My bedside drawers, all 3 of them i emptied and replaced the books/toys etc with soil, leaves and mud in which i filled with insects and snails. I thought I was being clever in that my parents didn’t know, but just on the phone to my mum a minute ago she confirmed my suspicion that all along she was rescuing these insects and putting them back outside.

One summer my parents brought out this huge, antique doll house out of the attic for me to look after and play with. What did I do? I filled it with soil, an abundance of different creepy crawlies in each room and shut it and kinda forgot about it. My mum opened it one day and I remember getting a huge row because it was completely ruined with soil and dried up insects everywhere.

Happy Times 🙂 RIP all my childhood creepy crawlies.

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