Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Where Seagulls Dare

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Where Seagulls Dare

Article excerpt

Byline: gary BAINBRIDGE One man's struggle with the 21st century Follow Gary on Twitter: @Gary_Bainbridge or email him at

IT occurred to me a few days ago that I have not seen a pea-shooter in years. I wondered if it was because of the lack of dried peas around the place these days. Frozen peas are all well and good, but when they thaw they do not have the ping of their dried cousins, nor can they be reused.

But then I have not seen a spud gun for about the same length of time, and potatoes are not thin on the ground - or under the ground - in this country.

I assume it is less to do with a lack of desire among the small child demographic to propel small pieces of vegetable matter at other people, and more to do with the strong belief by health and safety professionals that "those things will put someone's eye out".

This is not necessarily a bad thing. I am not one of those people who thinks it was better in the olden days when you could leave a leopard in charge of a class of six-year-olds, and if there was "an incident" the child in question could make her way to the school nurse for a plaster, a gargle of TCP, and a lecture on "not being so wet".

It is just a shame that the pastimes and experiences people of my age were able to enjoy are not available to people of my children's generation - things like travelling on the bus alone, playing in the park all summer long until called home by parents, and going to university without having to take out a five-figure loan.

It is not that the dangers which have led to these bans did not exist in those days, more that we did not really pay attention to those dangers. It took a few high-profile incidents to shake people up, and campaigning journalists relentlessly pushing these stories to change people's hearts and minds.

And it is in that spirit that I have to warn you about the gravest danger facing our country: the seagull.

I do not know what has happened in the past few years, but those little blackguards need taking down a peg.

Are they bigger nowadays? They seem to be, but it could just be that they are closer to us and no longer cowed, strutting about as if they own the place. …

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