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Cloud-cuckoo-land

You would not believe the number of times I’ve tried to publish this blog!

My first failed attempt was in my favourite coffee house, Moksha’s Caffe. I re-tried at home and almost succeeded but then the internet crashed. Hopefully it’ll be third time lucky. So, hello and phew. Lovely to see you. I hope you had a splendid Easter and are enjoying the sunshine by day and planet Venus at night.
Here in the Independent Republic, we’re out on foot, bike or boat and thus far, have not been invaded by rosette clad candidates. Neither posters nor election leaflets have dropped on the mat and my voting slip’s gone astray. Across the footbridge, they’re getting into the swing of things with a hustings at the Shoreham Centre on 26th April. It starts at 7pm, finishes at 10.00pm and all the main candidates will be there.
As it looks as though Spring has truly arrived, I’d like to talk about the Cuckoo. I say talk, because down here we’ll hear a rocking horse neigh before we hear a Cuckoo. Fortunately David Attenborough has recorded it and whilst you enjoy that, I’ll focus on two facts. Firstly that in flight, this dumpy, striped bird can be confused with a Kestral or Sparrowhawk, come again? Secondly, that the Cuckoo has captured the world’s imagination for centuries.
Aristotle, (384 – 322 B.C), thought that the Cuckoo should be praised for its’ resourcefulness; Aristophanes, (446-386 B.C), first coined the phrase “cloud-cuckoo-land” in his play “The Birds”; in Celtic mythology the call of the Cuckoo is believed to beckon the souls of the dead; in Tibetan tradition the Cuckoo is considered the king of the birds endowed with magical powers; it’s a common Lithuanian folk belief that a Cuckoo can foretell the future; and Bach, Delius and Handel were some of the composers influenced by its’ distinctive call.
In England, there are many traditions surrounding ones’ response to the first Cuckoo. In Dartmoor, the correct form is to run to the nearest gate and sit on the top bar to drive away the spirit of laziness. In Sussex, it’s to go and drink its’ health straight away. For obvious reasons, Shoreham Beach hasn’t acquired any traditions, but there’s no need to feel left out. The Cuckoo Trail, in East Sussex, Heffle Cuckoo Fair and the Laughton Fayre welcomes everyone.
Ta-ra for now. Thanks for popping by and see you soon.

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