The Great Gowk

A

Anonymous

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Well, I’m not much of a cryptozoologist, but I was wondering if anyone could find me a picture of a gowk (cuculus geacus to all you ornithologists).

For those who haven’t come across this interesting creature, a gowk was/is a rather eccentric member of the cuckoo family. There used to be loads of them. In fact, in Tudor times they were a positive pest. Hence the ancient rhyme "Ne’er laughe, ne’er smyle, Hunte ye gowke anothyr myle."(Ben of ‘Ness, ‘Bardic rymes o’ Caladonya’ on Vellum 1528)

Now, I always thought that they were extinct (certainly Victorian ornithologists thought so). However, I’ve heard rumours from my twitcher friends (bird watchers – crazy names, crazy guys), that there are gowks to be seen. At least one breeding pair in North Scotland (somewhere near the Kyle of Tongue or thereabouts). I’d usually ignore such blather, but I’ve heard it from several reliable sources.

So, can anyone help me with my quest? Looks a bit like a cuckoo, but has bright blue plumage (much like an American Jay), possibly a pinkish tail feather, and a much bigger wing-span. Apparently, they have a tendency to strut and sing in a “mannyre straynge” (Geo. Psalmanazar, ‘On Byrds’ pamphlet - 1654). Whatever that means. And, much like the South American dog-eating eagle, they can turn nasty, liking to attack bears, and once famously dive-swooping the annual ‘Washing of the Lions’ ceremony at the Tower of London (in the days when the menagerie was still there, obviously). This caused “severalle ladyes grande to faeinte & yon chickenes to losse theer teethe.” Lord Buckley, ‘Myne Drynke & Druckes Helle’ 1700, facsimile in British Museum). Blimey.

Your assistance in the hunt for the gowk much appreciated. :)

Cheers:p

Is this thread in the right place?;)
 
A

Anonymous

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Oooo, one more thing.

Apparently April 25th is Cuckoo Day, otherwise known as St Matthew's Gowk.

I'll just nip off and find the link...:cool:

Later:
Here it is. Mark not Matthew. I stand corrected. You have to scroll down a bit. Click to 'Huntie Gowk'

:p
 

rynner2

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Nice one, C! :)
 
A

Anonymous

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Why, thank you Mr R.:)

Sumer is ycomen in,
Loude sing gowk-ou

...as the Middle-English lyric goeth, err goes.

*Skips off singing*
Merye sing gowk-ou!
Cuckou, Cuckou
Wel singest thou cuckou:
Ne swik thou never now....

:D
 
A

Anonymous

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According to "Maypoles, Martyrs & Mayhem" by Quentin Cooper and Paul Sullivan, today is not only Huntigowke Day in Scotland, but Tailpipe day in parts of Devon, where April Fool Tricks can only be played after noon. Also, according to them, this is the day when the lions are washed in London's Trafalgar Square - spectators by invitation only!
 
A

Anonymous

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Well done. I bet there's not much that gets past you.

Must dash. Long stands and stripey paint to be fetched. Also, a soft-pointed chisel, a box of straight hooks and a stick with one end.
Does anyone know where I can get such items on a Bank Holiday? If I find a newsagents that's still open, I might go through all the papers with a marker pen, putting big circles round the April Fools (just to inform folk, like). Let's hope no one's got there first. :rolleyes:
 

stu neville

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All the above items are available on Shop! tv.

In the seventies I seem to recall most of them were made by Ronco ("not available in any shop!!" I wonder why..)
 

rynner2

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I've got a round tuit, you might be able to improvise with that...
 

DerekH16

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rynner said:
I've got a round tuit...

I always meant to get a round tuit, but I trained to be a lert instead....
 

FelixAntonius

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I've got a few long weights in the barn, that's if you don't mind hanging around a bit!!!!!!
 
A

Anonymous

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Can whoever just phoned me please call back? Couldn't make out if you asked for four candles or...fork handles.(c. R Barker & R Corbett).

Coat!:p
 
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