Friday, December 23, 2005

No more Toga Parties for this penguin...

The UK is in mourning tonight, christmas eve eve is not the time to be informed of your favourite penguins probable death, but this is the news being carried on all the networks tonight.

Toga the baby penguin was taken from his pen at the Amazon World Zoo Park last Saturday possibly by someone who thought he would make a good christmas present for his grandma, something to tell her friends down at the Gala Bingo, "ooooh yes, my grandson bought me a penguin you know" ...

This action sparked a huge public outcry with newspapers and TV shows dedicating huge chunks of their output to "save the penguin" campaigns and a reward of £10,000 was quickly raised. Yesterday however, an anonymous phone call from a young man in the South of England claimed that he had taken the bird and dumped it in Portsmouth dockyard.

Its now highly likely that the three month old baby penguin has now died as it can't feed itself and was dependent on its parents (who are also penguins) for its sustenancee.

The country is devastated, grown men weep in the streets and in pub tap rooms whilst raising their glasses in silent homage to the penguin that no-one had ever seen, and now never will.

Once christmas is out of the way its likely that there will be a public memorial service, perhaps in St Pauls, in order that a proper public outpouring of grief can be sustained, after all its unhealthy to bottle all that emotion up inside of you and us Brits have learned in recent years that a good public blubbing is necessary at least once a year.

It all started with the death of Princess Diana in 1997 which resulted in a tidal wave of grief that was previously thought impossible for the stiff upper lipped British public to demonstrate, what on earth would Churchill or Margaret Thatcher have thought ?

Since then hardly a week goes by without a huge mountain of flowers appearing at a roadside shrine somewhere, in the past a road death of a stranger would have been greeted with a "oh dear" from the population at large but now whenever you hear such news then you simply must run out and buy flowers then seek out the roadside shrine to place then at - a florist shop near a dangerous road junction is definitely the business to be in these days, especially if that dangerous road junction is in Liverpool.

Liverpool is the UK's centre for exhibitions of grief, the city is forever knee deep in floral tributes and most citizens have accounts at their favorite florists to keep up with the constant requirements for tributes.

A serious story was told in the UK press some months ago about how two police officers on patrol in Liverpool late one night found what they thought might be the torso of a small baby in an alleyway. The alleyway was cordoned off and the torso removed for forensic examination, a police officer stood guard at the site through the night.

By 8am the next morning he was knee deep in floral tributes, the citizens of Liverpool had hardly had time to eat their morning cornflakes before dashing down to their florists for their own tributes, going out of their way to visit the alleyway and place flowers on the ground.

By lunchtime the flowers were causing major traffic disruption and it was fortunate that the forensic lab had put all other work to one side in order to examine the torso in haste - the findings were broadcast to a grieving city together with an appeal for no more floral tributes at the site - the chicken had led a good life but it was likely that the restaurant in front of the alleyway had left the torso out of the fridge too long to cook and a careless kitchen porter had slung it into a waste bin, missing the bin in the process.

Its a nice gesture though...

In the meantime Toga the baby penguin will not be having his christmas fish dinner...

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