Quirky and funny stories in the Dunstable area

This black squirrel with white paws is one of two black squirrels regularly seen in a garden in Sewell, near Dunstable. Picture supplied by Aleksandra and Frank Taylor

This black squirrel with white paws is one of two black squirrels regularly seen in a garden in Sewell, near Dunstable. Picture supplied by Aleksandra and Frank Taylor

Black squirrels are regular visitors to a garden in Sewell, just outside Dunstable.

That’s interesting in itself – but what really fascinates me is that one of the two squirrels in question looks like it’s wearing socks and gloves!

It’s black except for its paws, which are bright white. How unusual. The other squirrel visitor is black all over.

They tend to pop in separately to Aleksandra and Frank Taylor’s garden in the hamlet, although the squirrels were actually seen together the other week.

Now the Taylors have kindly sent me the two snaps pictured on this page, catching their garden guests on camera.

Aleksandra tells me that the all-black squirrel has been visiting for about two years.

She says the other squirrel has “huge” white paws and started popping in about nine months ago.

Aleksandra said they forage for food but are “very wary” of humans.

She told me: “I’d read about black squirrels but when we saw one in the garden, we just couldn’t believe it, I had to get the binoculars out!”

The couple were even more surprised when the black squirrel with the white paws appeared.

“It’s obviously a mutation,” Aleksandra said. “It’s really unusual.”

Last year, I was surprised by the number of pictures sent to me after I wrote about sightings of black squirrels in this area.

Readers were quick to tell me of sightings in Dunstable, Houghton Regis and nearby villages. A list of places where black squirrels have been sighted is on the website for Forest Research (it assists the Forestry Commission among other tasks).

That list includes Caddington, Kensworth, Studham, Totternhoe and Whipsnade.

There’s even a “black squirrel distribution map”.

Well, there’s no doubt that we have black squirrels here, there and everywhere in this part of the world.

I’m 100 per cent sure about that – it isn’t just “a grey area”!

Have you seen the list of ales lined up for this year’s Dunstable Beer and Cider Festival?

I spotted the list when I was checking out sponsorship packages for the festival, and it did make me chuckle.

Sounds like it will be a great place to see a Dunstable Giant, a Red Kite and a Black Dragon.

No, I don’t mean a tall townsperson, a bird or a fearsome legendary creature.

They’re just some of the quirky names for ales you can find at the festival.

Utter the words Wot’s Occurring and you’ll end up with a pint, too. That’s the wacky name of one of the other ales.

I like the sound of the Hopping Mad Brewery, just the job if you hanker for Balmy Days or a Brainstorm (just two of their ales).

What fun. It’s all happening on Friday, May 30, Saturday, May 31 and Sunday, June 1.

There will be lots of ales and ciders, and plenty of entertainment.

And there will be a big marquee in case of showers, so even rain won’t put a dampener on the fun.

Take a look at Dunstable Town Council’s website, www.dunstable.gov.uk, if you’re interested in sponsoring the festival as an individual, a group or a business.

Ideas including sponsoring a beer or just advertising in the programme.

It may be gloomy February, but ‘hoppy’ days are ahead...




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