Miners used to take a canary down the coal mines with them; canaries are far more susceptible to toxic gases than a man and therefore a miner’s canary that stopped singing and died was a warning to the miners to get back up to ground level post haste.
You might think that this was something that went on in the old days; in fact it stopped in 1987, so if you’re my age not so much of the old days after all.
We had miners in the family on my mother’s side and stevedores too (but they had hooks not canaries and that would be another post), and there is an imagined similarity when teaching a new evening class in a certain darkened downstairs room at work that puts me in mind of colliery. Miners and teachers are both, after all, looking for rich seams.
When one of my new learners glazed over for a brief moment this week I was fully attuned. For a start, try as I might, the first induction session can seem a lot to take in and secondly, when I am in the classroom as a student, I am the first to fly out of the door. I sit near the exit on purpose so as not to disrupt the whole class when I take flight.
I thanked the learner/canary afterwards for giving me the valuable visual clue to her wellbeing: all feedback is genuinely welcomed. Take care of them if you teach one. That’s all I’m saying.
Link to a blog reviewing The Little Wooden Horse and Gobbolino: my top two favorite children’s stories when I was young here.
I’m retweeting this story from Daftburger. It’s about a certain Miracle Bobby. Don’t get this confused with Miracle Bob, the dog I mentioned some while back, this may be even more remarkable! Over to Mr Burger:
A week last Thursday I came home and the wife had a canary in the kitchen who had just walked into the house. Now me not thinking straight, after a hard days work at my sort of job, said we’d better let it go as it may have eggs! I know, I know.
So let it go they did. And could you blame them. If someone had asked me to make an animal welfare decision after a day of making badges in a tent for children in my sort of job, I too would have done some muddled thinking. But yet:
Anyway the amazing thing is after three days of regret and general sadness he came back! We opened the door and in he jumped! We were so happy and now he’s living with us and dominates our sad little lives.
Makemeadiva notes that Mr & Mrs Burger’s life is probably a whole lot less sad than her own (note incontinent pet, half-dead fish and crippled toes…) but these things are, of course, subjective.
So now for the great reveal of Miracle Bobby, but not before we have some explanatory notes from his saviour Mr DB, who for all his lyrical swagger on the commentary sections of various blogs is probably softer than a liddle puddy cat 😉
Well what fun I’ve had trying to get a picture of the miracle man!
Since his first incarnation when he walked around as if he owned the place, and he now does, he is reluctant to come out of his cage, which he was incarcerated in on his return! He’s been out once but all he did was go on the highest curtain rail and he wasn’t coming down. He’s a lot more settled now but i’ll leave him to come out later.
So to get a picture of him without his bars, which I don’t feel comfortable keeping him in, humans eh? He does seem happy enough and perhaps feels safer in there after his three days, that we know of, in the wild who can blame him? He was singing his heart out this morning.
Whichever way you want to cut it, it’s a collective aaaaahhhh ain’t it?
NB: No Bars Bobby Burger – he’s electing to stay on his warm comfy perch even as he’s offered the keys to the kingdom.