Mr Lumsden had a very exciting job. He was a block maker, which, one presumes, involved the taking of things that were not blocks and fashioning them into things that were. How he contained his excitement is beyond me.
Now, Mr Lumsden operated from a yard in Monkwearmouth, Sunderland, which, I must state, is not exactly within the province of Geordieland. It's just outside of it, actually, by a distance of three miles or so. (The image on the left shows the present location of what was once Lumsden's yard).
But we will not quibble. The story I am about to relate is of too great importance to be vetoed by such a short distance. They yard used to stand on the site of what is now St. Peter's Basin on the north bank of the River Wear. If only people knew that what now houses a university campus should really be a holy place of pilgrimage for followers of Forteana.
Mr Lumsden went into his yard one morning - Wednesday May 5, 1852, to be precise, which was just two weeks before the Taiping Rebellion in China, although this is completely irrelevant - to make some blocks. He decided to fashion them from wood, possibly because previous attempts to make them from blancmange had been abysmal failures. He settled upon what Fordyce's Historical Register describes as, 'a solid log of English elm', and got to work with his saw.
It was at this juncture that A Very Strange Thing Happened. Lumsden had started sawing under the reasonable presumption that the log comprised of wood on the Top Bit, wood in the Middle Bit and wood on the Bottom Bit. Not so. The Top Bit and the Bottom Bit were perfectly wooden, but the Middle Bit had been entirely supplanted by something not normally found in tree trunks; to wit, 'a green linnet's nest.'
This puzzled old Lumsden somewhat as he was used to seeing nests resting upon trees, not inside them. The nest was, he later told the press, "in a good state of repair, containing moss, grass and other materials."
I can only think of two logical explanations for the presence of a green linnet's nest inside a log of elm. Firstly, it is possible that the linnets that built the nest decided to place it inside the trunk for a laugh. How they may have set about accomplishing this is anybody's business.
Secondly, it is possible that the elm tree had a sudden growth spurt overnight and grew around the nest before dawn. This begs a further question, of course: why weren't Mr Linnet, Mrs Linnet and all the little Linnets also inside the nest when Lumsden discovered it?
Blogophiles are aware that The Geordie Paranormalizer tends to make light of such things, I know; but the story is true. If anyone out there can offer a truly rational explanation for this enigma I'd love to hear it.