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.
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
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!