Woodlice on my carpet

I have a woodlouse issue. The red carpet in the bedroom is, well, carpeted in them.

Woodlice are crustaceans, just like crabs, lobsters and prawns. They have adapted to life on land and have evolved so they no longer need to return to water to breed. The still like damp places, though, which may be why they love Einar so much. They also have a varied diet which includes eating their own faeces as well as the dead bodies of their own species. Their blood has copper in it rather than the iron in ours, so they need to eat copper-rich foods to stop becoming anaemic.

Woodlice on the carpet - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

The small bedroom at Einar is one of the few rooms in the house with a carpet. I have removed some of the other carpets as they were a little worse for wear and tear. One carpet which I didn’t remove was in the living room. That’s mainly because there wasn’t one. I always thought it was odd that there was no carpet there, given how useful carpet is in keeping your feet warm and stopping draughts. Then I found out why.

Here is my living room carpet in 1960 – the red carpet which used to keep people’s feet warm and stop the draughts – on Rapness pier on Westray:

The Queen on Westray
(OA Ref: L1137/2)

It was taken up and put outside so that Elizabeth Windsor could walk on it on her visit to Westray. It was probably the only bit of red carpet on the island.

Before 1953 Elizabeth Windsor’s title was Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas Queen, Defender of the Faith. Since 1953 it’s been Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith. Both are slightly odd here since Scotland never had an Elizabeth I.

‘By the Grace of God’? If anyone else thought that they had a divine right to rule over me they would be well known to their local mental health team. They wouldn’t be humoured by sycophants who keep them in a real-life version of a royal The Truman Show.

Mrs Windsor’s handbag is interesting. The handbag was made by Mary Kent (née Mason) of Mayfield, a house on Westray just a mile up the road from Einar. It’s absolutely beautiful and I know local people still have identical bags. It’s made from a seal which was shot and skinned to make a fashion accessory. It’s beautiful, but I find live seals more beautiful.

The handbag is so interesting that Philip Mountbatten (formerly Philip Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg) seems to be making a grab for it. I say Philip Mountbatten, but what I really mean is “His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, Baron Greenwich, Royal Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Extra Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Member of the Order of Merit, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, Grand Master and First and Principal Knight Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Knight of the Order of Australia, Additional Member of the Order of New Zealand, Extra Companion of the Queen’s Service Order, Royal Chief of the Order of Logohu, Extraordinary Companion of the Order of Canada, Extraordinary Commander of the Order of Military Merit, Canadian Forces Decoration, Lord of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council, Member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, Personal Aide-de-Camp to His Majesty King George VI, Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom.” Try fitting that on an envelope.

Woodlice on my carpet. Indeed.

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