Lights in the Night on the Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight

Barely a star twinkled on the moonless July night. A long dark lane lay in front of us. A high hedge on one side, mud flats on the other. I blinked my eyes rapidly as the left side of the lane appeared to be lit by a dozen teensy weensy green LEDs.

As I zig zagged along the path and with slightly blurred vision, I said to my partner Dan, “Did you see that?”


“Those lights, glowing in the grass.”

“Oh yeah?”

His sceptical tone was understandable as we’d shared a bottle of Sancerre and a couple of cognacs in the New Inn, Shalfleet to celebrate my birthday.

“Yes Dan, look over there.”

I shone my torch and the light vanished. I switched it off again and the glow magically reappeared like a solar powered garden light.

“You know what. I think they’re glow worms. Do glow worms exist? Do you have them in the UK? I’ve never seen them in Ireland. Maybe they’re fireflies. Is there such a thing?” I asked.

I wittered on, flicking the torch on and off as the lights on the grass did the opposite. I morphed into David Attenborough and ventured closer.

I closed in on the bioluminescence until I could almost touch it. Then I switched on the torch once more. They weren’t worms at all. They were wingless beetles and sort of cockroachy with their dark segmented bodies. They crept up the long blades of grass damp from the evening dew searching for food. There was a small snail near the top of an adjacent blade.  I believed it was soon to be escargot though I didn’t wait to find out.

Dan was crouching down beside me as I investigated the bug.

“Oh yes, that’s a glow worm. I’ve seen them before.” He said confidently.

I stood up and walked a little further, keeping the torch in my pocket.

“Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a garden full of glow worms? We could have them all over the trees and along the path. And it would be green too.” I said.

“Yes Darling, whatever you say Darling. I suppose you want me to collect them for you.”

“Of course not, they’re wild creatures. I’m just saying.  Do you think they’re always green?  I know the glow worm toy was green. Do you think they’re mating? Can you believe that I saw my first ever glow worm on my birthday? What a fabulous treat. Maybe that’s how glow sticks were invented, or glow in the dark watches. What do you think?”

“I think we should get back to the dinghy before we were stranded by the tide Darling.”

We stepped up the pace and walked by torchlight once more. I looked back along the lane one last time, my face aglow. Partly with wonder and partly with wine.

Meraid Griffin

Freelance writer, adventurer and public speaker. Descibed in the Sunday Times as a ‘modest explorer’. Nothing modest about me.


  1. Glow worms are ace, magical even, I have only seen them once myself, camping in Wales a few years ago.

    • Meraid Griffin

      I’ve seen glow worms several times since the summer and also got to see fireflies in Guatemala. Nature is so beautiful Nick.

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