What’s so great about seals anyway? They’re just boring lumps of blubber

100th anniversary of the National Trust buying Blakeney Point and turning it into Norfolk's first na

100th anniversary of the National Trust buying Blakeney Point and turning it into Norfolk's first nature reserve. The seals resting on the beach.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC

Christmas has gone, so it's time to find some things to do on the days of anticlimax.

Should I:

A – Go shopping in the sales?

B – Take a trip to see the seals up on the coast?

C – Pull my fingernails out and make them into a bracelet?


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The answer is, of course, C – it's the only one of the three with any entertainment value.

I've moaned like a haunting wind before about post-Christmas sales, so I'll spare you a repeat of my thoughts on that ghastly experience. This time, in neatly anagrammatical style, I'm onto seals.

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One word sums up seals: overrated (yes, it is one word. No hyphen, no space, no argument).

Up at Winterton, the 'green welly brigade' has been causing chaos by parking in inconvenient places in order to fix their beady eyes on the seals.

Leaving aside that chaos is not defined as 'parking in inconvenient places', the key issue here is not the parking, it's the fact that people bother to visit seals.

They are dull. They are boring. They don't really do anything. They are totally overrated.

Now if you had a glass-bottomed boat or a diving suit, it'd be a different matter. For seals do their best work under water, where they are swift, slick and agile.

On land, they are cumbersome lumps of blubber that punctuate long periods of slobbing about with the occasional outbreak of flopping across the beach.

You might think at this point that I'll make a cheap joke about Brits on a Balearic beach. But no, that'd be unseemly.

One tiny redeeming feature for the seals is how they pull very amusing faces. Catch one on camera and you'll have literally minutes of fun on Facebook.

But the invention of face beer mats has stolen their thunder, meaning we can get our fix of facial fun without having to move away from the beer fridge.

I must now apologise to the wardens at Blakeney Point, having spent a week with them for a series of features in 2012.

They did an amazing job of protecting, monitoring and counting the seals, which must be a good thing. But I was more interested in the huge hawk moths that we trapped one night, and had a sneaking admiration for the hedgehog that had made the three-mile land journey to the Point to steal and eat tern eggs, leaving little footprints as evidence.

The seals just did their thing of flopping, blobbing and basking.

Not that it stopped the steady flow of people getting in the boats to come and peer at them. Like the Winterton Welly Wallies, they clearly find seals fascinating, which is fine.

Maybe seals are actually sirens, and their bark draws humans to them.

If so, I am immune to their aural allure.

I have twice been on a boat to see the seals, but all I can remember is feeling queasy from the motion of the water and nonplussed by the creatures, which looked as though they had been inflated with a footpump or were filled with post-death gases that caused extreme bloating.

For me, there's only one seal worth driving into a car park to watch – Seal, the gravel-voiced man behind Crazy, Killer and Kiss from a Rose.

I'm sure he can lie around looking bloated if he tries, but he has more to his game, including dating supermodels and singing very nicely.

He might even be agile and elegant under water.

As for his blubber-laden namesakes, visit them if you want to, love them if you must, but I'd rather watch the finches in my garden or the squirrels in Waterloo Park.

Entertainment guaranteed, with no need for green wellies or a 4x4.

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