Tag Archives: family tradition

Pick up a Penguin

Today is World Penguin Day celebrating our tuxedo clad flightless feathered friends who walk with waddle but swim with amazing speed and grace.
I'm reminded of the story 'And Tango Makes Three' by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. The story is set in Central Park Zoo and tells the tale of two chinstrap penguins Roy and Silo and how they become parents to Tango.
It's a great story wonderfully illustrated by Henry Cole - yet the American Library Association reports that 'And Tango Makes Three' was the most challenged book of 2006 to 2010, except for 2009 when it was the second most challenged.
But just like the story says this penguin family isn't really any different from everyone else - "..they (Roy, Silo and Tango) snuggled together and, like all the other penguins in the penguin house, and all the other animals in the zoo, and all the families in the big city around, they went to sleep."
Penguins perhaps have a thing or two they can teach some people too!

Make a little birdhouse in your soul

My first aviary was built in my parents back garden in the mid 1980’s with the help of my maternal grandfather. He wasn’t a budgie man like my paternal grandad, he was a carpenter and cabinet maker. As a result my first aviary – although constructed mostly out of scraps of wood recycled from various sources including old doors and window frames, it was made with precision and had beautiful dove tail joints. It even had a stained glass leaded window savaged from the garden where it was being used as a cold frame because the windows in my grandparents’ house had been replaced on account of 1940s stained glass being old fashioned.
When I moved to my first home in Derbyshire in the late 90’s the aviary at my parents was dismantled and the stained glass moved with me to be installed in a new aviary. And so the tradition has continued with same glass panel finding its way into the design and construction of the aviary where I live now.
Throughout all that time there have been many birdhouse inhabitants from finches and quails to waxbills and cockatiels, even the odd cheeky mouse and of course budgies – but no blue canaries as ‘They Might Be Giants’ would sing! That said the glow from the window reminds me of my grandparents and as a reflection on the song lyrics they are the ones who watch over me.

Badges, Budgies and Books

Thanks to some internet searching these little badges tell quite a tale of their own.
They used to belong to my grandfather who wore them on his jacket lapels to show his affiliation to the world of budgerigar breeding.
I knew my grandfather was a train driver - what I didn't realise was the history of The London, Midland and Scottish Railway Company. It would seem in its time (1923-47) the LMS was the largest Joint Stock Corporation operating a railway anywhere in the world and the LMS Fur & Feather Society was one of a number of groups organised by the railway employees. Competitions were organised between similarly interested groups around the rail network.
Similarly the heritage of Budgerigar Society also dates back to the 1920's with the formation of the first Budgerigar Club at the Grand National Show at Crystal Palace in February 1925.
My grandad even appears in print - in A Locoman’s Log 1937-85 by Bill Alcock.
Who'd of thought there's nearly a 100 years tradition hidden behind an enamel pin badge?