Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Nuts to road safety

A heart-warming story from the BBC, appropriate to the season:

An animal-loving youngster was so upset after a red squirrel was knocked down on a road outside his home he urged forestry chiefs to erect warning signs.

Luke Hodgson, six, wrote to the Forestry Commission after seeing the fate of the creature at Sidwood, near Greenhaugh, Northumberland.

They listened to his appeal and installed six warning signs.

My first reaction was to wonder if the squirrels would be able to read the signs. (I have written here about education often enough.) But it turns out:

The signs, which alert people to red squirrels crossing, were being unveiled on Tuesday.

So where does that leave the Tufty Club? As you probably won't recall, Tufty was the poster squirrel for road safety back in the 1960s.

I did wonder if he was a grey squirrel. These nineteenth-century American imports are rather larger than our native red, more aggressive, wear loud check trousers and are inclined to flash their money about.

A study of the club badge (reproduced on a rather irreverent site), however, shows that he was clearly a red. Frankly, I feel a little cheated.

But seriously folks, the red squirrel is a lovely creature. I saw one in Glenmuick a couple of years ago. Their tales are translucent and look pink as the light shines through them.

So if you see one crossing the road, please slow down. It turns out that they are not experts at crossing the road after all.

1 comment:

James Graham (Quaequam Blog!) said...

Tufty lasted well into the mid-70s when I remember him at play school, only to be replaced by David Prowse in his Green Cross Code Man persona.

These days Tufty appears to have been replaced by Hedgehogs. I say "appear" because in the last advert I saw at the cinema (The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe) they seemed to have been balding faster than Mark Oaten!