Current Events, Special Days and Historic Anniversaries Brought to Life by Teddy Bears, Pandas and Other Cuddly Creatures


by Elspeth

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Well, in case you didn’t notice, yesterday was 1st April and so, despite reports to the contrary, Andy Murray wasn’t really in Dalbear Road – he was in Naples preparing for Britain’s vital Davis Cup quarter final against Italy, the first time Great Britain has reached this stage for 28 years.

Now, not only will some of you be feeling rather foolish if you believed what I wrote yesterday, but you may also be puzzled that the bears appear to be speaking a foreign language, so perhaps I’d better explain! 

On 1st April, my brother and I used to play tricks on our father and he on us!  However, instead of saying: “April Fool!” when he caught us out, Dad would shout: “Huntiegowk!”  I used to think that this was just a word he’d made up, but I recently discovered that it’s actually a Scottish expression which means ‘to make an April Fool of someone’ and is a corruption of ‘hunt-the-gowk’. 

As usual, the press tried to have fun at the expense of gullible readers yesterday.  The Daily Express reported that a British farmer had hatched a plan to slash the nation’s shopping bills after his prize-winning hens had started laying sqaure eggs!  Experts were predicting that housewives would soon be scrambling to buy square eggs, spelling the end for the need for egg cups as the eggs would be free-standing.  The lucky farmer set to see his profits soaring was one Ian Hatchett of Flair Loop (an anagram of April Fool!) in Suffolk whose eggs had apparently been verified and validated by the RSPCA’s Freedom Food which campaigns for animal welfare standards.  However, those trying to buy the limited stocks of these unusual eggs at yesterday would be bitterly disappointed when they discovered they’d been fooled!

The Daily Mail reported that the SNP was set to make the English pay for using wind from Scotland.  Using the slogan, ‘It’s Scotland’s Wind’, the tax was apparently going to be levied on the Big Six energy firms every time gales swept south into Northumberland and Cumbria!  In addition a ‘Gaelic wind zone’ was to be created which meant that winds from Ireland would be free for Scots to utilise.  The report ended by telling readers that SNP ministers were due to travel to Dublin on April 1st to finalise the plans!

Even the Royal Family didn’t escape this year when it was reported in Cambridge University’s student newspaper, The Tab, that Prince William, who recently completed a ten-week course in agricultual management, had been awarded a third-class degree, even though he wasn’t actually assessed!

I have my own favourite April Fool memory recounted to me by my father who was headteacher of a local school.  One year on 1st April, he and the school janitor were chatting in the playground and were rather bemused when an overaberubious (a wonderful word created by my husband which means over zealous!) little boy, obviously being egged on by some older boys who were hanging about nearby, came running up to them shouting: “Your lace is loose, Hallowe’en!”  As April Fool’s pranks go, it was a quite spectacular fiasco as, not only had the child got the catchphrase wrong, but he hadn’t spotted that neither of the men was actually wearing lacing shoes!  Every year after that, ‘Huntiegowk’ was replaced with ‘Hallowe’en’ when we made an April Fool of someone!

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