Thursday, May 31

A Swedish defeat in Europe

My dearest Weasel!

How glad I am to be back once again in England!

My tour of the Scandibaltic states of Pomerania, Latveria, the Marxist state of Sylvania and bird-rich Narnia has been most gruelling. But it was the delayed journey return home through Sverige that proved most tiresome, and to find out my problems were caused by the men of the Northern Marshes was most astonishing. Can you believe that they have now had the temerity to invade Sweden, and have taken hostages?! The country is in uproar. If it had not been for my good friend Johan August Wahlberg, organist of Uppsala Cathedral, I fear I would still be caught up in the turmoil and even tried as one of them, as a bee-knapper.

What happened? You may well ask. A team of crack troops, disguised as conservationists, put ashore in Skane, and attempted to abduct 100 queens of Bombus subterraneus, to take back to their own county, all because they have rather clumsily misplaced their own. They should have looked after them better.

Now of course the Swedes have been most put out by this raid. Should you wish you will quite easily find this statement upon the internettedworldwideweb but I will quote it here to save you time; Lars-Ake Janzon, previously of the Museum of Natural History in  Stockholm has said on record "They are no longer the world's rulers as they were before, when they just went around and took sthuff. Now they have to show a regard for the country they visit," (I fear Janzon has never met an English bird lister on holiday before.)

There is more. A further computerised quote on the raid comes from Anneli Johanssonsonsonson, environmental director at the Skane County Administrative Board. "The short-haired bumblebee is in decline and is increasingly rare. If they kidnap 100 queens here there is a high risk that we end up in the same situation as these raiders. The only thing we can do is try to get in contact with them, to appeal to them, and to get them to understand how inappropriate it is to threaten the existance of this species in Skane. They should also stop burning down our fishing villages, and desist from molesting our women and our herring. And stop entering singing contests."

Well dear Weasel, it sadly seems these cries for peace must have fallen upon closed ears. No sooner has I settled into my parlour than I read that more than 50 queens have just escaped quite close-by to us, near Dingeyness, and their captors are now appealing for sightings, no doubt hoping to round them up once more.

Well, I for one wish these Swedish dancing queens all God's speed and hope they are not recaptured. It would be most fanciful to think they could complete their great escape and make it back over the North Sea, but if not, then I hope they at least get to live their lives in peace here. I shall watch for reports.

Thursday, May 3

Tracking cuckoos and kites

My dearest Weasel,

TUKOGBANITO have the most marvellous venture in operation at this present time. Have you fallen upon it? They are monitoring Cuckoo movements through our counties, by the method of attaching trackers.

These trackers are, for the most part, very small children.

Assigned to remain affixed at all times to a kite, itself then tied by thread to each cuckoo, these children chase all about our countryside at this very moment. Five cuckoos have been tethered, and all were named by most generous TUKOGBANITO benefactors.

Pope Leo Tertius Decimus- Sponsored by Catholics against Darwinism. Piloted by ten years old Losechelsea Choirboy Stanley Buttkiss. The benefactors hope that this bird might help prove current theories of evolution and migration wrong; Stanley is under strict orders to follow Leo into any water body he might try to rest up in.

Kaiser Willhem II- Paid for by the British Association for Shooting Tethered Aviafauna by Repectable Dignitories. Most easily recognisable, the kite on this string is in the colours and patterns of an archery target. Willie is being piloted by one Clarence Gibbet-Hanger, son of a local gamekeeper.

JJ Audubon- This bird has been sponsored by our friends from the colonies, the Audubon Art Appreciation Society, and they have named it after their favourite bird cartoonist. JayJay (a ghastly name) has been tethered to a retired chimney fluffer, eight years old Hubert Podgkinson, of olde London towne.

Heinrich Zugunrhue Gatke- The staff of the British Naval Base, Heligoland have sponsored this cuckoo. It is being piloted by the eldest daughter of the Rear Admiral of the Jutland Fleet, Lavinia Florinda Subhuntah, aided by her sisters Stella Fannie Subhunter and Henrietta Gussie Subhuntah.

"Asbo"- an anonymous sponsorship. I have no idea what this means. Piloted by convicted street urchin Arthur 'Artful' Peeldodger.

To date there has been much exciting news on all of the birds.

Leo unfortunately ran into difficulties whilst crossing the River Mudway, although there is some dispute as to whether he or his handler entered the waters first.

Willie was brought down by friendly fire over the Isle of Sheepey.

JayJay remains alive, but has been making slow progress. Following a lengthy sojourn over Mrs Miggins' Pie and Sandwiche Shoppe, similar hold ups at a variety of bakeries along the main Dover/London cart track have made Podgkinson living proof of Brother Berthold's migratory fat deposit theories.

Richie has made the fastest perambulation to date, thanks in part to the Subhunter sisters having access to their papa's horse and carriage. At present the bird seems intent on heading for the Northanger Abbey estate.

Both Asbo and Peeldodger are missing, feared consumed, by members of the Sixfinga tribe in deepest East Angles, having been lost to sight near Grimsmere.

Such amazing results! This has already proved so popular there is talk of tethering many more street urchins, waifs and strays to cuckoos, and indeed other species, from a variety of locations throughout the land this summer. TUKOGBANITO are urging potential sponsors to donate plentifully, to ensure more of the great unwashed can be taken out of the gutters and into gainful employ. Why, if enough money is raised, the entire populous of Crawleigh towne could be tied to one autumnal Swallow flock, a most beneficial result even if no actual solid science were to come from from that experimentation. For this one reason alone I think TUKOGBANITO shall have a farthing from my collection plate when next the Churchwarden is not looking- guffaw(!)

Nay Weasel, fear not, I jest. It is just the evening sherry talking. I would of course never entertain wasting a farthing on the folk of Crawleigh, however beneficial the outcome.