Jack befriends a woodlouse
One of the most satisfying coming-of-age developments is when a child starts to empathise with animals.
While some children turn temporarily to vegetarianism when they learn what really goes into bacon and burgers, Jack’s concern has been with the wellbeing of our garden wildlife.
This is reassuring in one sense, because we won’t have to adjust Jack’s diet. On the other hand though, any garden landscaping aspirations must be thoroughly re-jigged.
The problem emerged on Saturday, when Jack and I started to clear the flower beds of weeds in preparation for planting some seeds.
Inevitably, we stumbled upon a woodlouse, which Jack to a shine to, nicknaming him “li’l fella” and insisting we put him safely in a jar until we’d finished weeding.
Having had success with a woodlouse, Jack decided he needed to temporarily re-house every creature we came across during our digging.
While snails and slugs were relegated to the garden waste bin, there were more ambitious re-locations, such as the careful shift of a mummy and baby frog to the shaded area behind the shed.
All of this re-housing work proved quite time consuming. While Jack proved quite adept at weeding, I’d clearly underestimated what a setback these creature concerns would be.
One setback led to another, with Jack unhappy about releasing his “li’l fella” back into the flower bed at risk of him being shovelled up when we resumed work on Sunday.
Our solution? This lucky woodlouse was treated to a night on the kitchen counter in a boutique jam jar hotel, complete with muslin roof and complimentary ‘lettuce’ breakfast.
Come the morning though, Jack convinced himself his “li’l fella” was ill, having failed to take even nibble at his leafy treat throughout the night.
So the first few hours of Sunday were spent watching Jack make futile attempts to get the woodlouse to eat something, on the pretext that he needed to “get his strength up” for his walk back home.