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How to Charm an Earthworm

Grassclippings - Worm CharmingDid you say "Worm Charming"?

On Saturday 5th July 1980 local Willaston farmer's son, Tom Shufflebotham amazed a disbelieving world by charming a total of 511 worms out of the ground in half an hour. True, there had been rather dubious unsubstantiated reports of a similar activity in Florida, USA some 10 years previous, but this was the first time a true competition with strict rules had been held. The village of Willaston, near Nantwich, Cheshire has been the venue for the annual World Championships ever since.

 
A regulatory body of control was formed to compile and enforce a total of 18 rules governing all aspects of Worm Charming. The International Federation of Charming Worms and Allied Pastimes (IFCWAP) not only exists for Worm Charming, but will look after the interests of other zaney sports such as indoor hand gliding, underwater Ludo and ice tiddly-winks (similar to curling but the tiddles go further).

The International Committee of IFCWAP is formed by Mike Forster, Chief Wormer and Mr Gordon Farr, Former Headmaster of Willaston School, who now enjoys life long Presidency and meets only once a year and at other times of national crisis. For example, when the New Zealand flat worm was discovered a number of years ago in some parts of the country, the threat to the common earthworm was of great public interest in Willaston and volunteers from the village still regularly patrol the site of the Worm Arena for at least 8 weeks prior to the event leaving no stone unturned, for that is where this hideous creature preyed on "Willy Worm".

The Rules:

  1. Each competitor to operate in a 3 x 3 metre plot.
  2. Lots to be drawn to allocate plots.
  3. Duration of competition to be 30 minutes, starting at about 2pm.
  4. Worms may not be dug from the ground. Vibrations only to be used.
  5. No drugs to be used! Water is considered to be a drug/stimulant.
  6. Any form of music may be used to charm the worms out of the earth.
  7. A garden fork of normal type may be stuck into the ground and vibrated by any manual means to encourage worms to the surface.
  8. Garden forks to be suitably covered to prevent possible injury when being transported to and from the competition. No accidents please!
  9. Each competitor to leave his/her fork in allocated plot on arrival.
  10. A piece of wood, smooth or notched may be used to strike or 'fiddle' the handle of the garden fork to assist vibration.
  11. Competitors who do not wish to handle worms may appoint a second to do so. The second shall be known as a 'Gillie'.
  12. Each competitor may collect worms from his/her own plot only.
  13. Worms to be handled carefully and collected in damp peat and placed in a suitable, named container provided by the organising committee.
  14. A handbell to be rung about five minutes before the start of the competition.
  15. Competitors to keep clear of competition plots until given the instruction "Get to your Plots".
  16. The competitor who 'charms' the most worms to be the winner.
  17. In the event of a tie, the winner to be decided by a further five minutes charming.
  18. Charmed worms to be released after the birds have gone to roost on the evening of the event.

Copies of The Rules are available in 30 languages, including Tibetan.  Mad!

Read more on The Worm Charming Web Site

Should you wish to deter your worms from coming to the surface of your lawn this autumn then you need to obtain some CastClear, the solution to lawn worm casts.  It's available from Garden Centre Stockists and Amazon and eBay.

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