May 15th, 2001
A Bear in it's natural surroundings
"It's become somewhat passe for Lancastrian drinkers to joke about the appearance of popular Yorkshire House landlord Mike. e.g.: "Ooh, what a big bear of a man", "Hofmeister please" etc. etc. However, what my incredulous eyes fell upon today only leads me to believe that our comments have been truer than we could have imagined....
"3:25 PM, Halton Weir, River Lune.
"While cycling, a splashing sound rising above even the normal crashing of the Halton rapids impinged upon my consciousness.
|Some Bears at the Salmon Weir, Lancaster|
Some way below I spotted Mike Edwards. On all fours, with the white water rushing about his limbs and belly as he frantically tried to swat leaping salmon with his giant pint-pulling paws.
"Far from doing his 3PM school run, he was doing the up-and-down-the-rocks-after-fish-run, grazing his (significantly?) hairy knees, whereupon he would moan balefully. IN A BEAR-LIKE FASHION.
"Yet more bizarrely, he was not fishing in a state of Ursula Undress, but was in a nappy-style garment which he had appeared to fashion from wadded bin-liners. What on earth he thought such a nappy had to do with grizzlies is any Lancaster Bear Watchers' guess.
"I attempted to photograph the half-majestic, half-pathetic sight with my trembling polaroid, but as I poked the camera through my leafy cover, the man rose to his hind-legs, a flapping trout in his mit. I am a little ashamed to say that as he let out a mighty celebratory roar, I became so frightened that I dropped the camera, with clattered and smashed just feet from where he had begun feeding below.
"At this, 'Mike' bellowed once more and crashed through the undergrowth of the far bank, not to return.
Mike last January
"Well, I don't know what could adequately explain any of this. Surely only a madman would suggest that some homo/ursine interspecific breeding could have taken place in Mike's ancestry. More likely, the landlord has been confused and, ultimately, crazed by half-overheard, half-understood jests at the expense of his (admittedly) bear-like features and proportions. Perhaps what I saw was some sort of animal catharsis.
"If indeed it is mockery that has led the man to such confusion, then, as an acquaintance, I am a little guilty and ashamed. HOWEVER. AS A MAN OF SCIENCE (and bear-watching) I AM RIGHTLY FASCINATED, as should my colleagues. With safety in numbers, we should observe him in his more familiar bar-room habitat.
"I for one would be very interested in 'collecting' his polythene nappy. As evidence, you understand.
It is difficult to know what to make of Dr. Haywood's submission. I feel that we should all think this over before we make any rash decisions. What do you think ? Do let us know here at Bearwatch. More Updates soon, so keep it coming, folks, and keep watching.