You don’t always need to save the world to become a hero. Sometimes, you just need to save some caterpillars.
The hero I am talking about is Sam Darlaston, who is my new favourite person in the entire universe.
So, the story is: Sam loves broccoli (a keeper right there) and bought some from the market. However, when he opened it at home, he found caterpillars in it. Full-fledged.
Now, what would you have done? Shrieked and thrown the entire thing away? Along with the caterpillars? Sam did not do that. Sam kept one of them as his pet and named him Cedric.
In case anyone is interested, the name we’ve gone with is Cedric, he’s from Spain (at least we assume so because the broccoli is) and he dances after eating spinach and broc all day long 🐛🐛🐛 pic.twitter.com/tO1EyMgeG1— Sam Darlaston (@samd_official) June 11, 2020
This is where it gets interesting. After the first broccoli, the second and third also happened to have caterpillars, and suddeny Sam and his roommate had 7 of them as pets.
SO IT TURNS OUT THAT THIS BROC CONTAINS ANOTHER 5 CATERPILLARS????!!!! 5!!!!! Also it turns out that THIS… is now a caterpillar thread pic.twitter.com/7M0UIcUxrU— Sam Darlaston (@samd_official) June 11, 2020
WELL! What do you know! My housemate just went to cook his broccoli and BAMMMMMMM, he’s got green mates too. Open to name suggestions for our 7th caterpillar child 😭🐛🐛🐛 pic.twitter.com/Gs02yjtPLr— Sam Darlaston (@samd_official) June 12, 2020
And they loved them. Sam documented all small and big things about his ‘children’ and kept the world updated.
Day 3, and we’ve got our first caterpillar romance story. Janine and Slim Eric nap together, eat together, and occasionally dance together 🐛 pic.twitter.com/t883KOVgi0— Sam Darlaston (@samd_official) June 13, 2020
Soon, the caterpillars started cocooning.
Oh god, it’s actually started cocooning and spun silk round it, so it won’t come off, it’s gonna have to chrysalis outside the cage with a house plant, this is CATERPILLAR CHAOS pic.twitter.com/gdvLp4rkTO— Sam Darlaston (@samd_official) June 13, 2020
Final update of the day… we’ve now got 3 cocoon / chrysalis, they grow up so fast 😭🐛 pic.twitter.com/AZIJMvOYnI— Sam Darlaston (@samd_official) June 15, 2020
I then got him to pose for a picture with his brother Olly so we could see the diff between caterpillar and cocoon. 🌚🌝 pic.twitter.com/xEcQ9kRdhJ— Sam Darlaston (@samd_official) June 22, 2020
And then the most beautiful thing happened. Cedric, the first pet, turned into a butterfly…oh my heart.
Remember Cedric the caterpillar? Feel old yet? 🐛🦋 pic.twitter.com/EfTPqIlSXY— Sam Darlaston (@samd_official) June 22, 2020
Others followed the suit within a few days.
3/7 of the Tesco broccoli caterpillars are now wild butterflies 😭, this morning Janine joined Cedric and Slim Eric for her new life ✌️🥦🦋 (thought she’d at least say bye but she just bolted) pic.twitter.com/ZxggmWc6VP— Sam Darlaston (@samd_official) June 24, 2020
OH MY WORD. Went for a run… (call me Mo Farah) GOT BACK AND THERE’S 3 BUTTERFLIES!!!! CROC HAS BEEN JOINED BY BROC AND OLLY!!!!!! 3!!!!!! 🦋🦋🦋 pic.twitter.com/xD42awfxZo— Sam Darlaston (@samd_official) June 25, 2020
Before Broc was also released into the wilderness.
It’s time for another of our caterpillar-now-butterfly kids to spread their wings. 🦋Broc was released live with Jeremy Vine on BBC Radio 2 earlier (honestly what is that sentence🤩) so just before my show on @KissFMUK right now I’ve just released his best mate Olly🦋 pic.twitter.com/r15YbRb4av— Sam Darlaston (@samd_official) June 25, 2020
Sam’s thread on the caterpillars went hugely viral, for understandable reasons, and he was even invited to release the butterflies on air by a radio channel.
Slim Eric (the one from the mushy couple), was the last to transform.
HERE HE IS!!!! WE HAVE THE FINAL BROCCOLI BUTTERFLY! 7/7 all hatched (not the right terminology but yolo) 🐛👉🦋 good morning Slim Eric, you took ya sweet time 🥦☀️ pic.twitter.com/6pJ6OuGHZ5— Sam Darlaston (@samd_official) June 28, 2020
This, right here, is the sweetest story of this year. Or maybe this decade. I don’t know.