Feed them, and they will come. Duh!
I've got to be careful not to boost her ego too much; she might want to quit the day job and become a lazy columnist. But editor Charlotte van Praagh has penned a top lead feature in the March issue of Welsh Coastal Life.
A Soaring Problem examines the increasingly controversial issue of those icons of the coast, seagulls. As you may have read elsewhere in the media, we now take our lives - and our toupées - in our hands every time we get within five miles of the coast, thanks to these divebombing scavengers. If it's not little Johnnie being pecked at, or unsuspecting Tiddles being whisked away, it's Ethel and Bert being dragged off the end of the pier as Hitchcock's vivid imagination starts to ring true.
And having just returned from a couple of days in Llandudno, it's clear to me a state of panic is sweeping across the bays of the Welsh coast. "DON'T FEED THE SEAGULLS!" scream the posters. "They mess on your car... they spread disease... they're noisy..."
Er, hang on. Noisy? Isn't the sound of seagulls up there with waves lapping at the shore in the top two sounds of the seaside? It'd be better for the poster boys and girls to highlight the fact that if you're still dimwitted enough to chuck a chip at a gull, you're likely to be surrounded by a gang of these monsters within seconds, and will be lucky to get away with your underwear intact let alone your lunch.
Course, the real story here is that there are knuckle-dragging neanderthals still marauding our promenades with IQs insufficient to realise that feeding the gulls ain't top of the 'smartest things to do by the sea' list. Perhaps it's time our coastal councils started erecting posters of a different tilt inside fish and chip shops: "DON'T FEED THE DUMB TOURISTS."
Alternatively, wouldn't it be easier to simply pass a bylaw making it illegal to feed seagulls? That'd certainly be better than the usual kneejerk reaction to cull the gulls. Any excuse to blast living things to smithereens and you know the type who are at the front of the queue. But surely even they wouldn't blame the birds. Let's face facts, it's the lardies who order double chips every time who've brought this problem upon us.
Mark my words, if Peter 'swingometer' Snow was to get his graphics guys on the case, you'd see a direct correlation between the obesity crisis and the incidents of ice cream muggings by winged assailants. Call me Norman Tebbit, but a £1,000 on-the-spot fine for any numbskull feeding a seagull - or dropping food litter for that matter - would soon sort things.
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