The mighty Cheese Eagle. As it soars over the landscape of the Cheddar Gorge, it is all too easy to forget that this bird, once hunted as a pest, is now on the UK endangered species list along with the Winged Vole and the Jelly Weasel.
But who could forget the once common sight of the local gentry in pursuit of this majestic creature? Now the preserve of villages keen to convey a folk-inspired and lively history while all the time hiding the fact that their landmarks consist of a pub and a very steep hill – Cheese rolling stems from attempts to lure the Cheese Eagle out of hiding by throwing a Double Gloucester down an incline. The Lords would hide at the bottom to pick off the cheese-frenzied birds with a rifle.
Now these poor animals, having been pushed to the brink, are more likely to be seen nesting above your local Budgens. They survive as opportunist thieves, carrying off the occasional fishnet bag of Mini Babybel being absent-mindedly loaded into the back of a Nissan Primera.
They rear their young almost exclusively on a diet of Oude kaas Gouda, a rare commodity in and around Cheddar. Luckily, the adult Cheese Eagle has adapted and is less choosy, happily preying on Applewood Smoked or even a cheap Roulade.
The female Cheese Eagle, being incredibly shy, has been known only to break cover in dire times. The most infamous occurrence being the attack on a farmers market in Saxmundham where yellow-corded stall-holders were forced to shelter behind their Volvos. Nearly twenty blocks of pungent Limburger were lost that fateful day.
Luckily for the Cheese Eagle, there are people who have dedicated their time to helping this reduced animal. Betty and Duncan Knockfelt run the Essex Cheese Eagle Sanctuary at Bures St. Mary.
‘It’s impossible to know the total number of nesting pairs left in the UK’ says Betty. ‘At last count, Essex had fewer than 1,250,000 but in the rest of the country, who knows? Well, actually we do have numbers for all counties in England but, to tell the truth we got bored adding them up.’
Duncan adds ‘We bought a calculator, but the symbols on it confused us to be honest. Whatever, there’s a limited number about. Sort of in the region of grey squirrels at a guess. Maybe more…’
Regardless of actual figures, the Cheese Eagle will continue to inspire and awe in equal amounts. We can only hope that with the tireless and committed work of people like Betty and Duncan, it will long cast its impressive shadow across our fair isle.
Granny’s tea legs – By Hildred Crackernoun
Davie always did enjoy,
Finding Granny’s tea legs,
And posting images online,
Of his favourite sexy tent pegs
Granny’s grunting knew no bounds,
Her grimace was alarming,
Her mumping dog upon a lead,
Her handbag used for farming
She oft hung out of windows,
And whooped at passing mushrooms,
She always tried to throw things,
A sturdy handled yard broom
The bit that Davie liked the best
And all his friends agreed,
Granny sitting on a chest,
Legs drenched in sugary tea
Q) Dear Monkeybroth
Are you lonesome tonight?
E. Presley (Deceased)
Dear Mr. Presley,
Actually, I’ve some friends around as my wife is having a Pampered Chef party in the front room. Us chaps are playing Kinectimals on the Xbox and drinking Peroni out in the orangery. You’re welcome to come and join us of course if you want cheering up?
Nestling like a duckling amongst the hills of the Nylwolds, the historic and picturesque county of Biffordshire casts a contented and ambivalent attitude towards the modern rat-race. But the shire was forged in modernism and many are unaware of those that have fought and gouged for the land and its delights in times long past.
In short, Biffordshire was built on blood, grit and cake.
Indeed, so infamous is Biffordshire’s history of violence and struggle, it is a little known fact that the onomatopoeia ‘Biff’, oft used in 60’s comic book TV adaptations, originates from our furious past.
The area was originally claimed by a Land Baron named Framley Speckle-Sheet, who conquered the land from its native people – the Axfrough Pigmy tribe. The battle raged for over an hour and a half with both sides equal in terms of numbers, but each using very different tactics.
Baron Speckle-Sheet utilised a V formation for his troops after noting the success of migrating geese and their aggressiveness when cornered. Indeed, Speckle-Sheet encouraged his fighters to honk vigorously at their opponents to intimidate and confound.
The tribe leader, Esk-va-hught, (which roughly translates as ‘Basket of Case’ in our modern tongue) having studied colonies of mice, ordered his people to independently run around in random circles looking for scraps of food and soft material with which to build nests.
As you can imagine, with such even hands, very few survived the clash with both sides reporting losses in excess of 85 per cent. These numbers were disputed when, in 1975, a colony of 13th generation Axfrough were found living in a hollow tree around the original site of the battle – their ancestors having successfully nested there during the slaughter.
Speckle-Sheet ultimately prevailed after he personally killed Esk-va-hught by forcing a Chess pawn up his nose, embedding it in the tribe leader’s frontal cortex. No easy feat in the heat of the battle.
The remaining Axfrough were hounded across the border into what we now call Glockenshire where they remained until being wiped out in the great scissor famine of 1686.
Biffordshire, or Sheetik-Ily-Shankle as it was then known, enjoyed a period of relative calm for the next 150 years being presided over by the Speckle-Sheet lineage. But the coming of the Industrial Revolution and the building of the earwig factories was about to change the landscape for ever….
Next time on The History of Biffordshire… Bryan explores the land wrangles of the capitalists that help shape the counties wealth and also gives an insight to why the local architecture so closely follows that of Lithuania.
Bryan will be hosting a local history and narcotics presentation at next month’s Shire Horse Show and Shine at Hexblightly Show Ground in the tent directly behind the Dubstep arena. Please remember to bring your own specimen bottles as stock may be limited on the day.
MonkeyBroth is determined to give you, you glorious creature, the most ‘now’ and ‘it’ announcements that are achievable within the bounds of English law.
We’ll own up that we did hire a sneak-thief in an attempt to steal upcoming announcements before they were released but, due to a typo with the admin, we were sent a steak-thief instead. We have apologised to Clive, our friendly local butcher, and returned the ill-gotten rump, shoulder and brisket to him post-haste.
Frosty Bobbins? Nippy Needles? Need you thimbles thawing? The coming cold snap promises to play merry hell with our treasured knitting and sewing tools but you can protect your investment with Steamstress. Simply pop your implements into the Steamstress storage area and fill the steam reservoir with tap water to keep the contents at a perfect 300 degrees Kelvin. Also works with Quick-Unpicks and Seam-Rippers. Available now at your local, inexplicably dark and disconcertingly quiet Haberdashery shop.
Warning, items removed from your Steamstress will be hot or possibly molten. Please allow items to cool for 48 hours before use.
Important message from Biffordshire County Council Due to the punishing winter climate taking its toll on our highways, Biffordshire County Council has initiated a series of road and byway repairs in and around the town of Spimlatch. Closures will be kept to a minimum and highways that experience heavy use will have night-time repairs. The following works are planned;
– The A8008 between Dank Lane and Spinney Jimmy Crescent
– Spooning Avenue adjacent to The Boating Spaniel Public House
– The Bridge over the river Why
– The floor of Melon & Sons green grocers (just under the lemon stand)
– Mrs. Jumplead’s creaky landing at 51 Beevertooth Road
Thank you for your patience.
Graham and Bunty’s Jam Cottage is open for business! After literally hours of renovation, the old florists in Hanktitch High Street has been TRANSFORMED into The Jam Cottage! Ready for all your taxidermy needs, The Jam Cottage provides the full stuffed animal service. We’ll stuff anything from a Llama to a favourite pet woodlouse. Competitive prices guaranteed. Poses and historical scenes a speciality. Check out our window display depicting The Battle of Lowestoft in spectacular detail.
Open from 11am till late! Pop in for a consultation and a biscuit.