|An Emperor Penguin|
Wahey! A happy story. I know I've spent some time talking about some pretty grim things. In the real world I’m actually fairly cheerful, ask anyone. I really am. But this year, maybe because the media likes to make a fuss, or maybe because it’s just been an inexplicably awful year in which barely a week goes by in which something truly awful happens and lots of people die.
Just this week we’ve had a massive hurricane that’s ripped up most of the
and plonked all of the debris down in Bahamas Central Park and Libyans are still finding dead people. In a year of very horrifying events, both man-made and designed by nature, it seems strange that the Japanese Earthquake/Tsunami/nuclear fallout issues were only a couple of months ago and that is on it’s 6th Prime Minister in 5 years. That seems like ages ago, and so because I started off by saying that this was going to be a happy story I’m going to get on with that instead of reminding you all about why 2011 has been quite so depressing. Japan
The good news story is a nature story, and no it’s not a polar bear eating a posh student, although I did see a picture of a polar bear climbing down a cliff because it was trying to eat some guillemot eggs in the Russian bit of the
Arctic Circle. Neither is the story about a shark biting a man in half on his honeymoon, because those are quite bad stories and this is supposed to be a happy and cheery blogpost.
What I’m going to tell you about is the humble and plucky tale of a very lost Emperor Penguin. Emperor Penguins live in the Antarctic, for any geography dunce that’s the cold, white bit at the bottom of a globe (which is a small version of the Earth). This particular Emperor Penguin, who is now known as Happy Feet, got very lost, so lost that he was on the wrong continent when he hit dry land.
|Almost certainly wearing ladies underwear.|
Happy Feet isn’t the most lost thing that I know about, I did recently hear about a Syrian truck driver who was trying his best to deliver a cargo, probably of humus and dates, to
Gibraltar. He started off in the best of spirits and as is the way with truck drivers everywhere this probably involved wearing ladies underwear but that is mere speculation.
Everything was probably going quite well until Syrian Joe probably reached Italy or thereabouts, but he was making that age-old, rookie mistake of paying too much attention to his satnav, because after crossing the Italian border and finding himself in France, a quick glance out of his cab window would have alerted him to the fact that he was heading North, and not South, like he should have been going if he wanted to get to Gibraltar.
|Perhaps Syrian Joe was on his way to Grimsby College?|
To cut a long story short, the hapless trucker ended up on the North coast of
, near England . For any non-British folk reading Grimsby is a medium sized fishing town on the East coast, it has a port and fishing boats and, as the Syrian trucker found out, a beach. Which is where some locals stopped him, as he was being guided towards the Grimsby North Sea by a satnav that thought Gibraltar Point and a gloopy bit of beach and marshland (that is quite a pleasant nature reserve with many species of wildfowl, butterfly and other such countryside creatures) between and Skegness were the same thing. Grimsby
So that dude just about beats our Emperor Penguin hero in the very lost stakes, and to be fair to Happy Feet he is a bird, and he doesn’t have a triangulated variant to guide him to where he’s supposed to be, and if he did have a triangulated variant to guide him to where he was supposed to be he couldn’t use it anyway, because he’s a bird, a very plucky and determined bird.
About two months ago Happy Feet washed up on a beach in New Zealand, stunned locals looked on and gasped as Happy Feet tried to adapt to his new home, by mistakenly eating sand that he thought was snow and having to have his stomach pumped like a teenager on a Friday night alcopop jaunt in Luton. Happy Feet was more than 700 miles off course, Peka Peka beach is a long, long way from
I live in
, which is in the very middle of Coventry and if I walked in any direction for 700 miles my feet would get wet at some point. I could walk past England and be out of the other side of Dublin , I could easily be in Ireland , or France , or if I went in a very straight line, and I was one of those Ghost Pirates from Pirates Of The Caribbean, I could be in Holland , Spain , Norway or even fucking Switzerland . Prague
If Happy Feet had have done what Forrest Gump did in the movie of the same name and gone for a run across America and had started in New York he would have easily passed Grand Rapids, Michigan or Nova Scotia, the silly, lost bird could have made it all the way to Chicago, Illinois.
Happy Feet made an epic journey, he went a fucking long way, only to end up in
. Like those guys who go on annual New Zealand Rugby and Cricket tours during the winter with the Barmy Army and find themselves in a place that looks a lot like in the 1970s. For any confused types there is a way to tell Scotland and Scotland apart, New Zealand has cows, Scotland has sheep. New Zealand
But all is well for our furry Antarctic, temporarily displaced, friend because he has been recovering from his arduous transoceanic journey in hospital, well a zoo. Wellington Zoo to be precise. The little chap may have braved the long distance swim, the freezing Southern Ocean and killer whales but he did make it to dry land and he is also now well enough to be taken home, in his own custom made box.
He’s quite a lucky penguin because when a monkey fell off a ship in the 19th century and washed up on a beach in
Hartlepool, in Northern England the local thickos mistook the poor creature for a French spy sent by Napoleon and hung the thing. Which is why Hartlepool United are comically known as the Monkey Hangers, because they were a bit stupid and barbaric, it’s also the only thing that Hartlepool is famous for, which is why there’s now a plan to twin it with New Zealand, (there isn’t, that was a joke).
|An Idiot's Guide to an Emperor Penguin|
But Happy Feet is now in his special crate on a ship back home. Seeing him home safe is Wellington Zoo vet, Dr Lisa Argilla, who has been looking after the poor bird since he came ashore and who has been overseeing Happy Feet’s recovery. Argilla described how Happy Feet’s coping with his long voyage home “He is curious and keeps trying to get out of his crate so he can go and jump in the ocean. I think he can smell the sea air as he seems to be doing a lot of sniffing as well.”
See, I told you it was a happy story.