Friday, 25 September 2009


There was once a facetious car sticker, I haven’t seen it for a long while, that was popular with our insular peninsular rednecks. It bore the motto GROCKLES GO HOME AND TAKE A SEAGULL WITH YOU.

The word grockle, which means first and foremost a tourist or holidaymaker visiting glorious Devon, is a word that originated here but which has now gone on to wider usage. This car sticker always seemed to me not only to have a problem with number but also to be doubly offensive. After all are we not all somebody’s grockles somewhere, sometime? And would we want to be being asked to go home? As for seagulls, in my book they are glorious birds. If they were rare they would be treasured. I do not believe the official propaganda that urges fifty reasons why I should not feed them and I don’t believe they deserve to be treated as public enemies.

It is true that I was once fiercely attacked by a divebombing herring gull and momentarily feared for my life but that was an over reaction on both our parts and the attack took place not on the Estuary but in Chancery Lane, London and no doubt it was the stress of city life that had crazed the poor bird. In any case there are many species of gull in the British Isles, Coward lists fifteen not counting the Terns and Skuas, and surely they are not all to be brushed with the same tar.

Tomorrow: More Seagulls.

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