Today I conclude these Fortean Funnies with part four (Oh, I do love alliteration). When I write “funnies” I mean funny peculiar rather than funny as in ha ha. I open with one of my favourites – locusts!
1. LOCUST REVIVAL: 'A petrol company has offered cash-strapped Hungarian farmers free insecticide to thwart a swarm of locusts advancing on their village 30 miles from Budapest. The swarm approaching Tatarszentgyorgy is the first of its kind in Hungary for 60 years.' (1) I wonder if Tatarszentgyorgy is anywhere near the Aggtelek National Park where I surveyed butterflies in May `09?
2. LAKE `MONSTER`: 'Thousands of tourists have visited a remote lake in Xinjiang, China, since reports of a monster which scientists say is a huge salmon, the official Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday. The story of the monster began last year when some local people claimed to have seen it swallow horses.' (2) Could this be the same as the big red fish of a certain Chinese lake that first began appearing about 10-15 years ago? But a salmon swallowing horses?
3. CROCODILE FEARS: 'The Jordan Valley council in Israel has posted a reward of more than £600 for the capture dead or alive, of a crocodile terrorising bathers in the Sea of Galilee.'
Crocodiles were present in what is now Israel in the 19th century though perhaps this one was an escapee? (3)
4. ONE HOP AHEAD: 'A wallaby, spotted near Pulham Market, Norfolk, yesterday by police is thought to have adapted to the wild after escaping from a zoo 18 months ago. It has evaded several attempts to catch it.' (4) This is interesting because it shows how wallabies can adapt to differing British landscapes, the rather flat landscape of Norfolk and the hilly one of the Peak District.
5. RATS DEFEAT DRUGS SEARCH: 'Dogs searching for drugs on board a Pakistani cargo ship here [Norrkoeping, Sweden] panicked by hordes of 15inch long rats, some weighing more than 2lb. They did not find any drugs.' (5)
6. INVASION HALTED: 'Residents in Nausori, Fiji, claimed victory yesterday over an army of millions of furry worms which invaded the town from the banks of a river. They crept around bus and taxi stands, disrupted a festival in the main park, and advanced on shops and homes.' (6) Oh, I do love swarms, as did Fort. Please can someone arrange a swarm in Macclesfield? Please, please!
7. Another favourite: homing cats: PURRFECT TIMING: 'Housewife Mrs Dorothy McGough, of Strelley, Nottingham, couldn`t believe her eyes when her lost cat Tommy returned – one year to the day after he dissappeared.' (7) I am collecting information on homing cats. If any of you have anything please can you contact me at email@example.com
1. Guardian June 23rd 1993
2. Guardian October 16th 1986
3. Daily Telegraph July 19th 1993
4. The Times May 10th 1983
5. The Times May 1st 1982
6. Guardian July 10th 1986
7. Daily Mirror (?) May 4th 1987
Big Country Inwards
I wouldn`t want to go out on a night like this
When I find out that some of the time has been missed
And the light in the window has bunt its fuse
I pull everything inwards
But everythings loose.