I’ve been inspired to write this post as I sit sewing together a felt killer whale. Its not the first one I’ve made, the other was intended as a Christmas tree bauble in honour of my friend’s wedding. I left it on the train.
The significance of the killer whale is a secret known unto a select few. To some, I am nicknamed after the most famous whale in captivity, Shamu.*
Shamu is the name attributed to every killer whale in residence at SeaWorld resorts in America. These whales are stolen from their mothers in the wild, trained to perform tricks and invariably have (sometimes deadly) run ins with their trainers. Most of us found this out from the movie Black Fish. Prior to its release I had been to Sea world close to 10 times. My mum just loved the end when the big whale splashed the audience. What can I say.
My name was coined in the summer of 2007. It was my first University holidays and my first taste of my over draught. My parents had sent me to London to work and pay off my debts and it wasn’t going well. After a few failed attempts at getting a job that I absolutely did not want, I went to stay with my friend in Cornwall.
I’m a bit of an expert at outstaying my welcome. My parents living in Scotland has meant that I pitch up at people’s houses in the hope of bed and board more than most. Usually this ends up well, but on occasion I have over-estimated my charm. What started as a weekend in Cornwall turned into weeks when I got a job in a nearby cafe. It was then that I began to eat them out of house and home.
Tactful hints from my friend were ignored. Encouragements to embark on walks were turned down flat. I even lifted up my legs so that my friend’s mum could hoover under my feet. I was reading Harry Potter and had made myself at home. My days were definitely numbered.
I knew my appetite was spiralling out of control when 6 sausage rolls intended for lunch were eaten by the dog. I later admitted to being the dog. In a bid to get me out of the house (and away from tomorrow’s baguettes) the family took me to Rick Stein’s fish and chip shop in Padstow. The fresh salty air of the ferry journey was making me hungry. I partook in an eating competition.
One portion of fish and chips, a chip butty and an unnecessary ice cream later, we headed back towards the ferry. I was somewhat unfortunately wearing a black leather jacket and white jeans. The ferry refused to take me.
My dinner companions lost all composure as they offered to let me swim behind the boat. I had eaten myself out of a lift and was dressed like a killer whale. I only had myself to blame. I have now been called Shamu for nearly 8 years and haven’t weighed as much since.
If you haven’t already, please sign this petition to stop whales being kept in captivity. We Shamus deserve to be free.
*FYI Free Willy is a fictional whale but was in fact played by none other than the orginal Shamu.