I was struck – reader’s voice: “Yes, you should be” – by the case of Steve Feltham, who this month celebrates 25 years of searching for the Loch Ness Monster, mysteriously known as Nessie.
Mr Feltham left Dorset quarter of a century ago and pitched up in a converted mobile library beside an inn on the banks of the arguably watery loch. In all that time, he has seen nowt, barring a disturbance in the waves made by something moving right quickly and powerfully.
Alas, he did not have his camera with him that day, which is like a policeman turning up for work without his whistle. I am getting a message in my earpiece from my researchers: policemen don’t have whistles now, except in a few places like Cambridge where they are used to call unruly cyclists to order. How extraordinary.
Not as extraordinary, however, as Mr Feltham’s dedication to the task of finding something that, frankly, might not be there. But, after 25 years, is he downhearted? No! He describes his life as “a complete joy”, having given up “the normal path of the rat race, getting married, buying a house and working all my life”.
Ah-ha, he has dropped out, as we used to say, though it is fair to note that he makes a living of sorts by making Nessie paraphernalia and selling it to tourists. Nessie, in a sense, is neither here nor there. For Mr Feltham is free, and who would not envy him his way of life, with all that fresh air and, perhaps still, a new sense of excitement every day as he scours the dark, rolling waves?
With the advent of yon internet, I have noticed there’s quite an appetite out there for sightings of ghosts, yetis, monsters and UFOs. However, the opportunity to produce proof has yielded a dearth of same, with only rubbishy lights in the sky or dark shadows in the woods to sate the paranormal craving.
The latest intelligence is that there is a pyramid under the sea, which was put there – obviously – by beings from ooter space. Well, I suppose even they had to have a hobby.
Still, there are more things on heaven and earth than you can shake a stick at, and some of these are probably improbable. Postulators propose that Nessie is possibly a dinosaur or even a giant catfish (Mr Feltham himself has wondered about this).
Whatever she is, you’ve gotta feel for the old gal. She hasn’t done anyone any harm, other than eating them from time to time. But I guess her diet now is pretty much like mine: fish and vegetables.
It would be a shame if she were to be seen. If I were in Mr Feltham’s wellies, and I saw Nessie, I wouldn’t let on. I’d throw her a haddock, from the several that I usually carry about in my pockets, and wish her all the best.
Who would want to be drawn into the media circus that would inevitably attend discovery? One minute, she’s peacefully plooterin’ aboot the floor of the loch, the next she’s on The Graeme Norton Show.
I wish Steve Feltham another happy 25 years keeping vigil on the loch, but kinda hope he doesn’t see anything. His fine way of life is surely compensation enough.