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ST CUTHBERT’S DAY

Just because I’m not presenting my usual inane style of radio programme doesn’t mean that I can’t carry on celebrating St Cuthbert’s Day as I have done every year for as long as I can remember - well, since 1999 when Mike Tickell came on-air and pointed out the significance of the date. Long live the Northumbrian Association - and HAPPY ST CUTHBERT’S DAY.

(That first sentence contained three negatives in a row. Sorry about that.)

I was trying to dream up a way of honouring our national local patron saint; it occurred to me that one of his most endearing and legendary characteristics was his love of wildlife, especially on and near his redoubts on Lindisfarne and the Farne Islands. There was certainly something of St Francis of Assisi about him.

By a strange coincidence, the news this last few days seems to have been full of stories about how animals continue to surprise and even astonish us just when we think we know everything there is to know about them.

So, just in case you missed them, and to honour St Cuthbert, here are some of the best and most recent examples of animal wonderfulness that I could find...

Mayflower, the Shetland pony whose legs are so short that passers-by think she’s sinking in the mud and call the Fire Brigade...
...an otter called Hope who was rescued near Exeter and was kept alive overnight by cuddling up to a teddy-bear...
...the chimpanzee in a Swedish zoo who has taken to gathering small rocks during the night and then hurling them at visitors when the zoo opens in the morning...
...the Thai monkey who had been beaten into harvesting coconuts by his cruel owner until he decided he’d had enough and killed his owner by throwing a coconut at him...
...still in Thailand, there’s Mosha the elephant whose leg was blown off by a landmine when she was a calf - so she was fitted with a prosthetic leg which has now been replaced with a bigger one because she’s fully grown...

...and, for all those ludicrous creationists amongst you - all those religious fundamentalists who insist that homosexuality must be unnatural because God created Nature without it - how about the two handsome mallard drakes in Arundel Wetland Centre who, despite all the efforts of the Centre’s well-meaning staff, have fallen hopelessly in love and become utterly inseparable. There’s something almost terminally endearing about a couple of gay ducks...

MEANWHILE...
Tomorrow, March 21, is the first day of Spring. The place to be at 1400 will be in the cafe of the Sunderland Winter Gardens looking out over Mowbray Park. I'll be there...

CONTACT ME
Post comments on this blog or email me: truckshunters@googlemail.com

8 comments:

Donna Farley said...

It's good to see people celebrating St. Cuthbert's day online! I especially appreciated the animal references. If you have a moment, I hope you can visit my new blog dedicated to St. Cuthbert:

http://stcuthbert.blogspot.com

Sid said...

It's always a pleasure to read your fine words Ian. They seem to flow so effortlessly from your finger tips.
I have a one eyed Robin that visits me regularly at my allotment. It is humbling to see how it copes with its problems in the wild.

Hildie said...

When I went into school this morning I popped my head around the Headteacher's door and said,
"Good morning, do you know that today is St. Cuthbert's day?"
"No, I didn't", he said.
"Do you anything about him?", I asked.
"No, but I'll fnd out", he replied.
And exactly thirty minutes later he did an assembly all about St. Cuthbert.
That's a coincidence , Ian, that you mentioned the pony with the short legs .... I posted the story about her on Truckshunters last week when you were away gallivanting ....
and ,The Duck Tale, that is SO cute
..... I was saving that one for later!
I will post it for those of you who haven't heard it.

Hildie said...

A TALE OF TWO DUCKS.

This is such a cute story, I would definitely have sent it in to The Nightshift Newsreel, had we still had it.

A bid to save a rare species of duck from extinction in the UK seems doomed after the last two males of the species fell for eachother. Keepers at a West Sussex bird sanctuary hoped that Cherry, Britain's last remaining female Blue Duck, might mate with either of the drakes, Ben or Jerry. However, neither of the drakes appeared interested, and they are now inseparable at Arundel Wetland Centre, reported the Daily Telegraph (March 10th).
The warden of the centre, Paul Stevens, said:
"They stay together all the time, parading up and down their enclosure and whistling to eachother as a male might do with a female he wants to mate with. People who visit the centre think they're a fantastic couple, without coming around to the idea that they are two males."
Blue Ducks originate from New Zealand but only the three birds are thought to be in the UK.
The keepers initially introduced Ben to Cherry, but neither seemed keen.
Then they brought Jerry down from a sanctuary in London. Mr. Stevens said: "Cherry showed some interest in him. She displayed typical mating behaviour - she approached him and called to him, she even looked like she was nesting. We thought it was great and that it was all going to happen, but nothing ever did."
Mr. Stevens said that the male ducks were then placed in the same enclosure.
"To our surprise, the two males really took to eachother and it was obvious that they really liked eachother."
"It would have been nice to get a last clutch of eggs from Cherry - BUT -- Ben and Jerry do make a lovely couple!"

Hildie said...

Ahh, in the cafe of Sunderland Winter Gardens today, I met a walrus and a gorgeous, little bear named Willingly. It was great fun.

Maureen said...

Was he cross-eyed by any chance? The bear I mean?

Hildie said...

Maureen, he was! He's really cute. His name is Will Robinson, I'm sure you'll meet him one of these days. I last saw him heading to the railway station with Ian and Vivienne. That park you've got in Sunderland is such an anomally in the middle of a city .... I found it all quite breath-taking ...
we did see it on a beautiful day.

Ian Robinson said...

Thanks for commenting, Donna. I've looked at yor blog - and I'm now one of your followers. I'm also now following a blog yours linked to - the Farne Islands blog. Thanks - much appreciated. Keep in touch.