Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Tales of the Riverbank

Hearing that the Soviet Union was developing miniature submarines, someone in the Royal Navy's top secret Weaponized Wildlife Unit* decided to start a programme to train kingfishers to identify and attack them. Only when the person responsible was informed that (a) "miniature" submarines were not that small, and (b) were unlikely to turn up in the freshwater situations favoured by kingfishers, anyway, was the programme quietly abandoned, and the birds released back into the wild. As a result, in the south Hampshire rivers near Portsmouth there is now a strain of unusually aggressive hunter-killer kingfishers, with a peculiar urge to attack the thermos flasks and drink bottles of riverside picnickers.

*  You may have heard of their "navy seals", or the controversial and lethal "blue blistering barnacles", now outlawed by international convention.


Huw said...


When I am running along the Basingstoke canal, or up towards Chobham, and I see a kingfisher flashing past, I feel like I've been granted a moment of grace. They never fail to astound me.


PS Top Herge reference, and terrible (great) seal joke.

Mike C. said...


Glad to see someone's awake out there! Apparently Captain Haddock says nothing of the sort in French. Although he is still Capitaine Haddock.