Martin Kirby Column; No Place Like Holm, Good and Bard, and The Bare Bones Of It
NOT MORE SEAGULLS FOR THE CITY?
I know the island of Flat Holm, in the Severn estuary, is out of the Gloucester area but I was interested to read that it's for sale because I once spent a night on the island and found it to be a fantastic experience.
Obviously I won't get the chance again, as the current owner, Cardiff Council, revealed that it was selling off the boat used to take visitors to the island and putting the Holm up for sale, so I'm glad I went when I did, and actually there is a connection, albeit small, between Gloucester and Flat Holm.
Officially it's the island's pub, 'The Gull and Leek' that's for sale but as it would be difficult to buy the pub separately, the island sort of comes with it, as well as a 100ft tall Grade II-listed lighthouse, two helipads and gun batteries dating back to when Napoleon was our greatest enemy. The pub has only been operating for 18 months but I happen to know there was another pub on the island decades ago and it was very popular because Welsh pubs didn't open on Sundays at the time, and with it being outside the three-mile limit, the trip across the estuary was worthwhile. Sadly, technology closed the watering hole when more up to date methods revealed that Flat Holm was actually less than three miles off the Welsh coast, and that was that.
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Of course, there is a drawback for anyone planning to purchase Flat Holm and actually there. The place is extremely noisy, as the island has a breeding colony of 3,732 pairs of Lesser Black Backed gulls, something we are all-too familiar with in Gloucester. In fact local ornithologist, Brian Bailey, who took me to the island a few years ago, said that in the past, the Flat Holm gulls would visit the tip at Hempsted for lunch and return to their homes on the island for their supper, but now the tip has measures in place to deter them.
However, if the island's new owner managed to evict the gulls, they might move to Gloucester permanently - something that doesn't bear thinking about.
YOU HAVE TO HAND IT TO HIM
Staying with the theme of wildlife, I've often seen this chap feeding the squirrels in Gloucester Park and last week I managed to get a photo of him in action.
Rob Chandler is on such good terms with the bushy-tailed rodents that they eat out of his hand. Maybe they think he's nuts!
WISE WORDS FROM THE BARD
The government has been lax and indifferent to the public mood, financial affairs are out of hand and corruption is rife. No it's not the latest update on 'speedinggate' or the UK's debt crisis, but the plot of a play written more than 400 years ago. The darkly comic Measure for Measure explores issues of morality, justice and the abuse of power and will be performed at The King's Theatre from Tuesday 19th February to Saturday 23rd February by the Phoenix Players. It's amazing how history repeats itself and a quick scan of the news headlines reminds us just how relevant Shakespeare's work is today. You can find out more about performances by calling Gloucester Tourist Information Centre on 01452 396572.
By the way, here's another of Shakespeare's lines that both local and national politicians would do well to remember - this time from As You Like It; 'The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool'.
BURYING THE PAST
Now we know that the bones found under a Leicester car park really are the remains of King Richard III, there is still a debate as to where his final resting place should be. Before anyone else got around to it one of my readers, Michael Skillern, suggested that Gloucester Cathedral would be a fitting place for Richard to rest, as Richard was a Duke of Gloucester and gave the city the Royal Charter but it's obviously not going to happen. Still, we've got Alfred The Great's daughter, Aethelflaed, in Priory Road, so I suppose that's something.