Life's A Beach


Let us look at some of the issues arising from the Alfie notice.

"You may already have stumbled upon Alfie on one of the local beaches."

Well, if you have stumbled across him you must be either visually impaired or just a plain eejit, as he is a five foot long mound of blubber and not exactly easy to miss.

"This does not mean that he is tame and wants to be disturbed by people."

This is not an attitude unique to seals. Most residents of St. Ives feel this way, especially during the Summer holidays.

"We are a little unsure as to why he has chosen the popular and very busy beaches of St. Ives but feel that we should understand and respect Ďhisí space."

Ha, fat chance! Beach space in St. Ives during the school holidays is usually decided on the basis of best of two falls, two submissions or a knockout.

Not only that, but the last time I looked the 'respect' consisted of the seal people trying to poke him back into the sea with a broom handle when the beach was busy!

"Another likely possibility is that when Alfie reaches sexual maturity in the next year or so he will venture further afield."

Probably across the bay to Hayle, that's where most St. Ives teenagers go when they are desperate for a shag.

"Please respect Alfie, he is doing what seals do. If we respect him, he will respect us."

Respect? What, from tourists? They've paid good money to come down and trash St. Ives, don't you know? Most of them would cheerfully gun down their own mothers just to jump the queue for a space in the car park or a drink in the Sloop. Frankly, there's more chance of the Pope converting to Buddhism than there is of them showing any respect.

Where do these seal people come from?

And when is the mothership coming back for them?

Of course, their greatest admission of ignorance is:- "We are a little unsure as to why he has chosen the popular and very busy beaches of St. Ives ..."

Actually, there are several possible explanations for what Alfie is doing.

Firstly, the seals have got so used to rubberneckers coming out on boat trips to invade their privacy on Seal Island that they have decided, on the basis of 'if you can't beat them, join them', to organise seal outings to 'Human Island' (or St. Ives as the 'monkeys' call it) or

Secondly, Seal Island is a very self-contained ethnic community with a strong sense of family duty. Alfie, has in fact, been rather foolish and fallen foul of the seal mafia. Consequently, his punishment has been to be 'sent to sleep with the humans' or

Most probably, Alfie is actually following a long seal tradition that is one of St. Ives' most closely guarded secrets. It is a little known fact that the seals and the fisherman of St. Ives have lived so long in such close proximity that some of the more intelligent seals have evolved human tendencies. This has resulted in some seals occasionally 'doing an Alfie'.

By this they gradually integrate themselves into St. Ives society by flobbling up on to beaches until everyone is used to the sight of them and even, as with Alfie, on first name terms with them. Then, traditionally on a dark and stormy night, they don human disguise and take a job working as a glass collector. Once established in the community they usually go on to marry an unsuspecting tourist and settle down somewhere inland.

This could account for the occasional occurrence of webbed feet in the sprogs of returning tourists and their uncanny ability of some  to balance a beachball on their noses!

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