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A Plague (of shrimp) Upon Your House – And Upon Your House Only! Wednesday September 16, 2015

It was 8.30am and, being on holiday, we were enjoying a leisurely breakfast, when a knock on the door heralded the concerned face of our neighbour, several chalets down the sea wall.

"Tell me!" she said "Have you been invaded by shrimps?"

There was one of those pauses where you are aware that whatever you say is bound to be inadequate. We looked around in a bemused fashion. "Um – not so far as we know..."

"Well, I've got them an inch deep all over my front room! They're getting EVERYWHERE!"

And it was true. Her chalet had been visited by a legion of sand hoppers, or Talitrus saltator, a type of amphipod crustacean, common to our East Anglian coasts. It lives around the high tide mark and feeds on rotting seaweed. In turn, it feeds the seabirds.

Except that morning hundreds of these little things, about half an inch long and resembling nothing more than a cross between a shrimp and a flea, were not in the sand, but had migrated over or under or through the meter high sea wall and were in my friend's beach house. And they're not called sand hoppers for nothing. Like a flea, these things can jump; and yes, they had got EVERYWHERE. There were some even caught in a spider's web near the ceiling!

Well, we had the children and fed them breakfast while she and her husband swept and vacuumed, and fished in corners, under furniture and inside shoes and gradually de-shrimped their house.

It happened again the next night, and then again about a week later.

And it was only their house! Nobody else along the sea wall was affected. It is still a mystery as to how they got in and why they only picked the one particular house to invade.

It made me think about the way we struggle with misfortune. We try to seek answers or patterns. We ask ourselves "What did I do to deserve this?" or "Is this Karma?"

But sometimes bad stuff simply happens. We were just unlucky enough to be there at the time. If we're lucky the misfortune is merely an annoying inconvenience; sometimes it's a tragedy. Other times misfortune passed by our door without knocking.

Usually the best thing to do is just accept what happens, pick ourselves up as best we can, brush ourselves down and carry on. It doesn't help to try to find the answers because there are no answers. That way madness lies.

Sometimes shrimp just happens. Deal with it.

I'll lend you a broom.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Hopeful One Wed, Sep 16th 2015 @ 6:28am

Hi Mary - great blog. The moral of your story seemsto me to be that ' stuff happens' in our lives over which we have no control and which we can not even imagine( shrimps in one's chalet?). The quicker we accept whatever has happened rather than spend time trying to change it in some way the sooner we will find the solution.

Louise Wed, Sep 16th 2015 @ 7:37am

Mary, what an excellent blog! I the only one that read this:

“Sometimes shrimp just happens. Deal with it.”

And had a mental image of a film poster featuring Arnie Schwarzenegger holding a broom?!

Well, it gave me a chuckle to start the day....

Debs Wed, Sep 16th 2015 @ 8:17am

So good Mary!! I love it. What is interesting about 'shrimp circumstances' is choosing them - going beyond acceptance and actually choosing for them to be in your life. In that path lies complete acceptance and peace. Or radical change. But either way we grow and learn and develop. Great blog, great fishy start to the day x

Sue Wed, Sep 16th 2015 @ 8:38am

Brilliant post Mary. You described it all so well I could really picture it. Thank you for making me smile at the start of my day while giving me something to reflect on also.

Anni Wed, Sep 16th 2015 @ 8:43am

'sometimes shrimp just happens' most excellent!!! I shall use that as my mantra of the day. Thank you Mary

Anonymous Wed, Sep 16th 2015 @ 9:08am

Genius Mary! Thanks. Go well.

Bearofliddlebrain Wed, Sep 16th 2015 @ 9:27am

Grrrreat post Mary, Mary! Lurve this story! Made me laugh out loud and then show it to my husband! As HO says, the quicker we accept what has happened, the quicker we move on...but when we are down so low, it is hard to see that so clearly.
Bear x

the room above the garage Wed, Sep 16th 2015 @ 9:49am

Hello Marydoll, please can we have team t-shirts? "sometimes shrimp just happens"...genius :-D Have to admit I was fascinated and horrified in equal measure at the thought of them invading so efficiently! Love ratg x.

Rachel Wed, Sep 16th 2015 @ 10:27am

Hi Mary thanks for your blog:-) Shrimp for me is not having children and wanting them, a desperately hard and painful thing to accept. I am heartened by how other moodscopers have their own misfortunes and take the time to write blogs and share their thoughts and insights. And the way you helped your neighbours out Mary was uplifting:-D

Rachel Wed, Sep 16th 2015 @ 10:27am

Hi Mary thanks for your blog:-) Shrimp for me is not having children and wanting them, a desperately hard and painful thing to accept. I am heartened by how other moodscopers have their own misfortunes and take the time to write blogs and share their thoughts and insights. And the way you helped your neighbours out Mary was uplifting:-D

Mary Wed, Sep 16th 2015 @ 10:38am

Thank you everyone for your comments. They are much appreciated. RATG - you are the second person to suggest a "Shrimp Happens" Teeshirt! I fear however it would be an inside joke. Louise - what a great image, Arnie with a broom! Rachel - your shrimps are painful indeed, I wish you peace.

Lexi Wed, Sep 16th 2015 @ 11:14am

Mary- the one we know and love! Brilliant writing. Enjoyed waking up this am and reading it. Thank you.

Lex Wed, Sep 16th 2015 @ 1:29pm

Shrimp Happens! It'll be my new bumper sticker! Brilliant!

Di Wed, Sep 16th 2015 @ 2:31pm

Dearest Mary ~
Bellisima! Woah! Rippin' post! "Shrimp happens" all the time around these parts. It is the key to NOT taking anything personally, unless of course, it is personal. Love it. We thank you from our hearts. Lovingly, Di

Ellie Wed, Sep 16th 2015 @ 2:48pm

Love your post as always Mary - thanks.
Just wanted to respond to Rachel's post. I found infertility to be similar to a bereavement - you learn to live with the pain but it never goes away. Our life without children is great but it's 15 years since we accepted this was how it was going to be. Be kind to yourselves and be honest I think shrimp are overrated!!! xox

the room above the garage Wed, Sep 16th 2015 @ 4:52pm

Rachel I'm sad for your story. And glad of Ellie's reply.

Cathi Wed, Sep 16th 2015 @ 7:40pm

Mary, thanks for another great blog. Totally agree with you... sometimes things just happen... accepting this makes life much easier

Petal Wed, Sep 16th 2015 @ 7:59pm

Thanks Mary, there are a few thinks that I'm fighting against that are out of my control. Maybe if I remember "shrimp happens" it'll depersonalise it a bit as Di said.
There are a great many bad things that happen I guess, that are out of our control and feel almost to painful to accept but there are also people who will understand and care.
I love the idea of de shrimping my house! It will be hard and not completely possible, but I can minimise how much I allow in. Love to all x

Susan Wed, Sep 16th 2015 @ 10:43pm

I laughed at the image of the shrimp and I also think Mary's response is beautiful in how it mirrors what we wish so many would do when we tell them about the "shrimp" in our lives. She didn't say "there are no shrimp in my house so you're probably imagining things" or "I had a shrimp fall on the kitchen floor once and I cleaned it up myself so I don't understand why you need help" or "let me send you this organic chemical-free shrimp cleaning hack I read on Facebook". She believed her neighbor was telling the truth, as crazy as it sounded, and fed the children breakfast. May all of our neighbors and loved ones be so compassionate and practical in our "shrimpiest" times!

Kathy Thu, Sep 17th 2015 @ 10:54am

What a funny story. Thanks for making me laugh and brightening up a very dull Noah's ark type day. Great philosophy on how to live life, if only more people did this. Cheers Mary!

Mary Thu, Sep 17th 2015 @ 11:39am

Susan, what a lovely thing to say. Thank you so very much. And everyone else. I can't tell you how much your supportive comments mean. I am so very grateful.

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