Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Friday, December 25, 2009


So, we have a white Christmas for the first time (for me at least) since the late 1970s. The Myrtle Cottage garden looks like something from a slightly seedy Christmas card, but the sun is shining and the birds are singing, the churchbells are ringing, and I have just passed a minor rite of passage: although she is 22, not 6, I have just watched my stepdaughter open her Christmas stocking for the first time. Such moments as that are truly precious, and make me even more emotional than I usually am on Christmas morning.

Because it is at times like this that I miss my parents most. For my childhood Christmasses were as nice as my adult ones have been (mostly) horrid, until I met Corinna that is. I even released a song seven years ago detailing my attempts to drink myself to death one particularly miserable Yuletide, but that is another story. I feel particularly sorry for Corinna at this time, because although she has the joyous bits of having her children here (Olivia and Ivan are here now, and Shosh and Gavin are coming down early in the New Year), it is particularly hard for her because the day before yesterday was the second anniversary of her father's tragic death. I also feel sorry for the Braund-Phillip clan, and Lorraine Braund. This is their first Christmas without Marjorie. The toast of `absent friends` always feels particularly poignant at this time of year.

To add to the smorgsbord of emotions which surrounds what is euphemistically described as the `Festive Season` (can I get away with my annual joke about being a fat, bearded man with an interest in the contents of stockings? Probably not), in the wee small hours this morning, just after saying goodnight to Olivia and Ivan, Corinna, Biggles and I went to bed to find water pouring through our bedroom ceiling. It was raining last night and the ice melted far quicker than usual and must have split something. We put a bucket underneath, and eventually the flow dried up - thankfully without the increasingly beleagured ceiling collapsing.

Because Christmastide is a time when most people retreat into their own families for a few days and ignore the rest of the world, it is hard to remember that the world keeps on turning, and stuff keeps on happening whether or not the vast majority of the population of these islands is tucking into their figgy pudding. The CFZ continues doing what we do - there are animals to feed, blogs to write, and new websites to design, and later on the Arnarchist Social Workers go into Bideford to collect Noella so she can come out here for the festivities.

I would like to thank Richard, Graham, Dave B-P and Max for all they do for the CFZ. I would like to thank everyone who has supported us over the last year, but even more I would like to thank the team without whom I could not do this blog every day. I would like to thank all the contributors, but in particular Gavin Lloyd Wilson, Oliver Lewis, Lizzy Clancy, Richard Muirhead and above all my darling wife Corinna. You, my love, are the only reason I get out of bed in the mornings, so in a very real sense there would be no blog if it weren't for you.

So my dears, I am off to open Christmas presents, and more importantly watch Olivia and Corinna open theirs. May all readers of these inky fingered scribblings have a Happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous 2010.




Dr Dan Holdsworth said...

May I wish you a very merry Christmas from up here in the frozen North (well, Leeds at least).

Naomi said...

It's funny you posted that picture. I was just wishing I could see how everything looks in your area today, and there it was! We were in the mid 70s earlier this week, and then yesterday we got a sudden cold front and snow!! And the snow actually stuck.

Have a wonderful Christmas, CFZ!

Marcy said...

Merry Christmas to a remarkable group of people. Before the year ends, I want to let you know that at least one ancient American thinks you are delightful. Jon and Corinna, thank you for sharing the video of your wedding. Yes, I know it was a while ago. It made me weep for the joy and beauty of it; and it's past time I told you so.
And how have you found such a huge crowd of articulate people, all having a child's delight in strange animals? I check the blog nearly every day. Thank you for your work, all of you. Thank you for the humor, and the intrigue of all these bits of news you gather. grammy

Retrieverman said...

Merry Christmas.