23/01/2017 Inside Out South West


23/01/2017

Artha Ahmad investigates the tradition of 'blacking up' at folk events in Cornwall. And naturalist Nick Baker goes on a whale watch.


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Transcript


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It's had a rebrand, but is it racist?

:00:00.:00:00.

Tonight, the townspeople who black up For Mummer's Day,

:00:00.:00:08.

the Cornish tradition that some celebrate, and others condemn.

:00:09.:00:13.

I'd never dream of being racist, we're all equal.

:00:14.:00:17.

we join Nick Baker for a water wildlife watch.

:00:18.:00:29.

We have a pod of common dolphins, right underneath the bow.

:00:30.:00:34.

And as the weather bites, I go in search of snow,

:00:35.:00:37.

but are we seeing less and less of the white stuff?

:00:38.:00:41.

We dig into the archives, and even mine our memories to discover

:00:42.:00:44.

Hello, I'm Jemma Woodman, and welcome to Inside Out South West.

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Different places have different traditions -

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Bog-snorkling, nettle eating - but blacking up?

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Can it ever really be acceptable today's society?

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The winter festival Mummer's Day, was once called Darkie Day,

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but some locals in Padstow argue that isn't offensive,

:01:22.:01:23.

We sent Artha Ahmad to investigate one of Britain's

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It's Mummers Day in this Cornish seaside town. My day job's reporting

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for the BBC's Asian Network. This is the first time I've worked in

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Cornwall, and it's turning out to be quite an experience.

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Hello, can I ask you a few questions?

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No, you can't, at all. On Boxing Day and New Year's Day,

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some locals here paint their faces black and parade through the

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for more than 100 years. Some say for more than 100 years. Some say

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goes back to pagan times. I'm hoping to find out all about Padstow and

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its tradition blacking up - is it just a harmless old custom or

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is it too offensive to survive without major changes being made?

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Blacking up doesn't just happen in Cornwall, there's a handful of folk

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groups across the country who like to slap on the paint.

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Good chance to dress up in crazy clothes and go out, happy dance, and

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a couple of beers afterwards your friends.

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What you think? I think it also generates

:02:51.:02:55.

mysterious, pagan energies that infuse the atmosphere. If you test

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that scientifically, you may have trouble finding evidence.

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Not everybody appreciates it. The man on the left is having a go at a

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group of Morris dancers in Birmingham.

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Blacktop reformers have some high-profile fans, including a then

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Prime Minister, and the community -- Communities Secretary Sajid Javid,

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who said he was proud of the Morris dancers involved in the Birmingham

:03:31.:03:36.

confrontation. Back in Padstow, the party's in full swing. For eight

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outsider like me, it feels a bit surreal. This is not something

:03:41.:03:45.

usually see in London, in I am surprised to see yet actually, in

:03:46.:03:52.

2017. I was exciting people to be blacktop, but didn't expect them to

:03:53.:03:56.

be blacked up in entirety. That's quite surprising to see. Some of the

:03:57.:04:01.

songs are also pretty surprising. The original lyrics of this one

:04:02.:04:06.

includes the N-word. Thankfully, there's been a bit of a rewrite.

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So, they're singing a song in there, but they've changed the lyrics and

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replaced a racist term it, so now it says, where do the good Mummers go?

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I really want to talk to the people here, but feels like they've been

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gagged. Can I ask you a few questions?

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I'm not glad to say nothing, sorry. A few people ask us not a film,

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which is a bit strange seeing how anyone can come and watch. One man,

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not one of the Mummers themselves, told me if I didn't like it, I

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should go back to my own country. I'm not the only one who has

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questions. We asked them, and asked them what

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it was for, and they said it was my great secrets and wouldn't tell us.

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They said it wasn't racist. But other than that...

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What were your first thoughts when you've saw it?

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That it was. You thought it was racist? You're

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seen you're from Watford? Do think something like this could ever

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happen of there? No! You wouldn't get away with that.

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Maybe this man can tell us? What is it about?

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Gordon, due to tell us what it's about?

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No. This is what we get as a response.

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Everyone we took two sees it differently.

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I don't want to make of it, it makes me feel a little uncomfortable. I'm

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sure that anybody that came here visiting with probably find it quite

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offensive. I wasn't sure if it was a racial

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thing or what the intent of it was. Certainly, in the United States, it

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wouldn't be acceptable. I don't find it offensive, I'm part

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of it. I've lived in Cornwall 12 years...

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And we love you! I've been doing it for many years. I

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don't find it offensive. Just let it be.

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One idea that keeps coming up is that it all goes back to be slaving

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days. Darkie Day and the ship came into

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the harbour and they let the slaves off the ship and they ran around

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town, are currently left a few black babies behind.

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You can see it's not racist. There were coloured people, they came off

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the boats, there are also autumn colours around. They landed the

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boats here, went out on the streets, they celebrated the fact they were

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on land and getting fresh air and have a party.

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The story goes that people in Padstow partied with slaves who

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arrived on these shores were stopped and even helped them to escape. But

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is any of that drew? Defined, we've come to meet Merv Davey, the grand

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Bard of Cornwall, a title direct lasers were preserving Cornish

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culture. He thinks the slave boat story is a bit of harmless for

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Clara. When people are asked why they

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dressed like this, are you mocking people, no. The story that was

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went past oriented Padstow, and they went past oriented Padstow, and they

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dressed up to rescue the slaves. It made sense to them, it made sense of

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the story, and no way it's quite nice thing, because we can

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demonstrate as far as the history books go, no slavers went anywhere

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near Padstow, but the story's not nice, and it makes sense to the

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people. And what about the parade's all

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blame, Darkie Day? Merv reckons that has an innocent explanation too.

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Document get on just meant disguising yourself in Cornish. I

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was privileged to take part of it, went down, blacking my face

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at no part in the proceedings did I at no part in the proceedings did I

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find it from ugly racist or demeaning of anybody.

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There are more close to the parade's history and copies of the local

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paper. It turns out the tradition almost died out and was revised in

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the 1960s as a children's event. There's her letter for one of the

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people credited with reviving the event. She wrote a letter thanking

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the darkies. This editor was quite a job to back-up all the faces, but

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job done. job done.

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Cilla Black face paint was brought Cilla Black face paint was brought

:09:05.:09:07.

back for the kids, and since then the event has evolved into some kind

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of musical pub crawl. But is a time for some other change two Merv

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thinks yes, but may be the Mummers could bring a dash of white into the

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black and celebrate the Cornish flag.

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The problem is for everyone you find who is offended another person finds

:09:30.:09:35.

it enormous fun. If I was from Padstow, I would put a white cross

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across the black faces, but it's not for me to say that. In most places

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so easy to paint your face. I've so easy to paint your face. I've

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been somewhere with the paint is read, it is so easy to change that.

:09:55.:10:00.

It's about the skies, not just blackface.

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Back in Padstow, we've had a breakthrough, some of the Mummers

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broken ranks and are up for a chat. It's everything to us. It's

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tradition. Christmas means nothing to me, the

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only thing I look forward to is Boxing Day and New Year's Day. It's

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the only thing I look forward to. I think because so many people take

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it as read says, the older people are Padstow do it. I think, why

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should we talk about it if we're went to become racist.

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I wouldn't dream of being racist, I'm a carer, skin colour's nothing

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to me. , can I talk to you?

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We've change the words... Suddenly, it's all over. The Mummers

:10:54.:10:57.

are keeping mum again. I couldn't help but notice that some of the

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younger people were less blacktop than the older ones. Maybe that's

:11:02.:11:07.

just this year's style, what we can say is that some see this as a

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tradition that should die out, others would take to see at last. I

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certainly won't be forgetting about it sooner.

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Coming up, Nick Baker will be all let's see having a whale

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When you see dolphins you know there is still hope in the world.

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These animals need a reasonably healthy ecosystem in order

:11:26.:11:32.

Is anywhere more beautiful than Dartmoor in the snow? And a light

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dusting at least is pretty much guaranteed up here come winter. But

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if you think you remember a time when he only had to walk out your

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front door to the knee-deep interests, then you're probably not

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alone. The older you are, the more likely you are to say, we don't get

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snow likely used it. But is that drew? Or just faded memories,

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wrapped up in nostalgia. -- is that true? Time to dip into the archives

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to find out. In 1963, the South West bore the brunt of a series of mighty

:12:27.:12:28.

blizzards. ARCHIVE: Dartmoor was like Siberia,

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a large-scale rescue operation. The one good train on Dartmoor got

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completely buried. Two other engines were rescued were snowploughs, they

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got buried too. This Devon farmer and his mother

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remember it's like yesterday. Within is go to school for three

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weeks! That was short lived. On the farms

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were rapidly pressed into service as extra farm labourers. Nobody could

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get their milk out to the factory. It was all churns. We had to take

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the churns to our neighbours, they couldn't get there. We hadn't seen

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anything like it before. And we haven't had it as bad sense, really.

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But in 2010, the same thing happened again. This time, it was McTaggart

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getting stuck on the roads in what proved to be the coldest winter in

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30 years. -- milk tankers getting stuck in roads. To not get caught

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out again, there was a salt spreading scheme.

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This is this year's delivery, we're hopefully well-prepared should we

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need it. need it.

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But your salt spread hasn't seen much action since 2010?

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No, it hasn't. One or two goes, but nowhere near the amount of snow that

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we had in 2010 and 2011. And he has the mountains of salt

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stocks to prove it. Actually, the footage shows that

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cold or snow. But there is one went cold or snow. But there is one went

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to McDonald's, and it happened 70 years ago. -- winter that does, and

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it happened. We had to go way back it happened. We had to go way back

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into the archives, before many of you were born, and regional TV

:14:38.:14:45.

didn't exist. Mike at the film and television archive has had a good

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look. I've to good look, there's very

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little of 1947, but think I've find you a little gem.

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Hope Cove, looking more like Antarctica and the usually clement

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south coast. This, lifeboat brings food supplies to the ruined

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villagers. In 1947, January the villagers. In 1947, January the

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22nd, the snow started to fall, and fell every day, somewhere in the UK,

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for over 70 days. That's even more than 1963. The bitter cold was

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compounded by fuel and food shortages in post-war Britain. But

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the spirit of the blades sought some keep smiling through. Surely yet

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more proof that we don't get snow like we used to. -- the spirit of

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the Blitz. So, will today's owners of the Cottage Hotel, seen in that

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footage, have any memory of the big snow of 1947? Is this the right

:15:49.:15:54.

place? This is deathly the right place,

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that is the hotel. Come to the right place, let's see

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if anyone remember is 1947? But it's not the winter of 47 that

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this former hotelier remembers. Does this look familiar to you?

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It does look familiar, but wasn't here at this time.

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Have you seen a winter like it? It was pretty bad in 78-79, not much

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difference, I would think. It's true, something I did see

:16:25.:16:26.

buckets of snow. We were worried, we do know how long

:16:27.:16:35.

the snow would go on for. We had 75 people, plus the staff to feed and

:16:36.:16:40.

look after. That was a worry. There were 15-foot deep drifts everywhere.

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Parts of the South West were left without electricity or running water

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for three days. Supplies of food and what a retro look at it in, and once

:16:54.:16:59.

again, many didn't have milk for breakfast. -- helicoptered in. I

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remembered as the very worst winter we ever had, but then I was only

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five. Time to head to the Met office and find out whether they can tell

:17:09.:17:12.

us if we don't get snow like we used to.

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When we look back through records of snow, meteorological records, you do

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see these big spikes. They result from a particular weather pattern

:17:22.:17:26.

that crops up every so often. It's not regular. It doesn't follow every

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so many years that we will get this. But this particular pattern dries

:17:35.:17:39.

excess of in the UK. Adam's data shows that in the last exteriors,

:17:40.:17:44.

the worst winter for snow was in fact 1963, then 2010, then 1979. And

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these spikes are down to free weather patterns. But is climate

:17:52.:17:55.

change impacting on our snowfall? Before we answer that, time to one

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up with Doris, Joan and John from Salcombe, who remember the snow of

:18:02.:18:05.

1947, radiating official Met Office records. Was it like that?

:18:06.:18:13.

Yes, it was! The snow was that the?

:18:14.:18:16.

It was absolutely unbelievable. I looked at the window, and father

:18:17.:18:22.

said, yes, there is no. I couldn't believe it! We'd never seen snow in

:18:23.:18:28.

Salcombe before, not to that extent. I'd actually just left school, I was

:18:29.:18:33.

just 14. I started work. But John was the lucky one, he was still at

:18:34.:18:37.

nearly three weeks. He'll Terry nearly three weeks. He'll Terry

:18:38.:18:40.

about that! He had three weeks of school!

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Three whole weeks off. My father was a labourer for the

:18:47.:18:50.

Council, and all I remember is that he was out dead as the tiny digging

:18:51.:18:56.

roads. Alongside the council workers,

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POW camp in Salcombe. It was all POW camp in Salcombe. It was all

:19:00.:19:03.

hands on deck during the big White out of 47.

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I recall this large snowman it being built outside the shop it.

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Did you feel sorry for them in the show?

:19:15.:19:14.

I did, yes. I did, yes.

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That was quite incredible, people were on skis.

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Skiing? A must have been like being in the

:19:25.:19:28.

It was, yeah. We don't get snow like It was, yeah. We don't get snow like

:19:29.:19:37.

that any more, but don't critically want it!

:19:38.:19:41.

Is that the case? Back to the Met Office to find out.

:19:42.:19:45.

An interesting thing to think about is, if the winds and weather

:19:46.:19:49.

patterns are exactly the same today as they were 19 623, which we have

:19:50.:19:54.

as much snow. The answer is, we wouldn't. -- as they were in 1963,

:19:55.:20:03.

so with milder wins in this area, we're not likely to see the same

:20:04.:20:06.

crippling snow conditions. Still, as long as you can do this!

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Good shot! You might think that this

:20:10.:20:14.

is the worst time of Surely all the animals

:20:15.:20:16.

hunker down and hibernate? But as Nick Baker discovers,

:20:17.:20:19.

head out onto the water It's a bright and crisp autumnal

:20:20.:20:38.

morning, and we're in Falmouth, we're going whale watching.

:20:39.:21:00.

When it catching a ride with Falmouth-based skipper Keith, and

:21:01.:21:07.

joining me is marine biologist, Dr Simon Ingram. You might think it's a

:21:08.:21:18.

crazy idea to be going out to look for whales at this time of year, but

:21:19.:21:22.

given the right weather conditions and sea conditions, as can be a much

:21:23.:21:25.

more fruitful time to see whales, dolphins and porpoises.

:21:26.:21:33.

My interest in taking this trip out to sea was sparked by the dead fin

:21:34.:21:38.

whale which washed up on the beach in dollars this autumn. The

:21:39.:21:44.

conclusion was that this whale most likely died at sea of natural

:21:45.:21:51.

causes. Think people's response when they

:21:52.:21:54.

hear about a dead animal washing up on the beach is, this is awful. But

:21:55.:21:59.

actually, there is a more positive side to the story, because it could

:22:00.:22:01.

be an indication that the reason be an indication that the reason

:22:02.:22:03.

these and other turning up on the beaches is because there's more of

:22:04.:22:08.

them alive at their in the waters. Which is good news.

:22:09.:22:14.

How easy is it to actually see these elusive creatures in the wild?

:22:15.:22:20.

About is tracking out from the shoreline, all these icons, all

:22:21.:22:26.

these marks on the screen are at this year's sightings. This year has

:22:27.:22:29.

been absolutely remarkable. We have, been absolutely remarkable. We have,

:22:30.:22:37.

to date, recorded some 5250 individual animals.

:22:38.:22:43.

For Keith, that's an all-time record, 40% up on his annual

:22:44.:22:52.

average. This is being fed back to build a national sightings database.

:22:53.:22:58.

These animals face lots of different threats and our waters. Fishery

:22:59.:23:01.

interactions, noise, disturbance, ship strikes. We have to think about

:23:02.:23:06.

all these things together and manage them properly together in order to

:23:07.:23:10.

create a sustainable population size.

:23:11.:23:15.

Fin whales are regular visitors to the waters of Ireland. Simon

:23:16.:23:20.

believes that this may be why they're being seen in increasing

:23:21.:23:23.

numbers off the coast of Devon and Cornwall.

:23:24.:23:35.

Gannets, out to the west of us. There is excitement on the boat at

:23:36.:23:46.

the moment is, because Captain Keith has spotted, about a mile away, a

:23:47.:23:52.

large group of feeding gannets. Where there's gannets, there's face,

:23:53.:23:58.

where there's face, hopefully, there's dolphins, whales breathe and

:23:59.:24:03.

paupers. 2016 saw an abundance of herring and mackerel. This created a

:24:04.:24:07.

feeding frenzy for gannets like these. These streamlined dive

:24:08.:24:14.

bombers make short work of the fish below. Like many birds, -- unlike

:24:15.:24:20.

many birds, they can see down grooves in their bill, and judge the

:24:21.:24:24.

distance to their fish prey with deadly accuracy. Definitely got some

:24:25.:24:29.

paupers milling around underneath where the birds are. -- poor boys.

:24:30.:24:36.

Try and see we can get a shot at them, but they are only one metre

:24:37.:24:42.

long, and in this chop it's bit of a challenge. I wasn't wrong. It's like

:24:43.:24:48.

watching lightning, you can point lightning out, but by macro the time

:24:49.:24:49.

you turn, it's gone. We got one more you turn, it's gone. We got one more

:24:50.:24:56.

fleeting glints of the board poses, but then they were gone. -- of the

:24:57.:25:03.

porpoises. Just when we think our luck might be running out and we are

:25:04.:25:07.

going to head back down the coast, the crew sports more activity.

:25:08.:25:13.

Suddenly, there's a mad scramble in the boat. Dolphins!

:25:14.:25:55.

This is what it's all about! We have a port of common dolphin, right

:25:56.:26:05.

underneath the bowel. Wildlife watching doesn't get any better than

:26:06.:26:06.

this. I could talk for hours about the

:26:07.:26:18.

ecology and what they symbolise for the health of the ocean, but at this

:26:19.:26:23.

of going, yes, dolphins! You can of going, yes, dolphins! You can

:26:24.:26:28.

shout and weep and holler for joy, because it doesn't scare them off,

:26:29.:26:35.

they don't mind. For boys is spent a lot of their

:26:36.:26:39.

time feeding, so they really are on a bit of a knife edge, always try to

:26:40.:26:44.

find enough food, whereas dolphins are that much more efficient, top

:26:45.:26:48.

predators, able to spend some time socialising rather than just

:26:49.:26:53.

feeding. When you see dolphins, you know

:26:54.:26:57.

there's still hope in the world. These are top and predators. These

:26:58.:27:03.

animals need a reasonably healthy ecosystem in order to support all

:27:04.:27:10.

that energy. Then go, they're still here! Oh, so beautiful. I know it's

:27:11.:27:21.

not cool to be that enthusiastic about wildlife, but I couldn't help

:27:22.:27:25.

myself. I'm feeling a little embarrassed, but wow, wasn't that

:27:26.:27:31.

great? Dolphins are those creatures that we ship quite a lot with.

:27:32.:27:36.

right on the surface, they come up right on the surface, they come up

:27:37.:27:41.

and meet us. They fell us with jolly, that's what the dolphins

:27:42.:27:48.

symbolises to many people. -- fill us with joy.

:27:49.:27:53.

Well it's good these albums are returning, we are starting with a

:27:54.:27:56.

depleted state. Let's hope we have things back on track for a recovery

:27:57.:28:02.

in arena systems. When you see dolphins and whales it

:28:03.:28:06.

fills you with hope, hope that there's and off left here to

:28:07.:28:11.

protect. So while the Wales may have eluded us today, seeing dolphins

:28:12.:28:12.

isn't half bad. And that's all for now,

:28:13.:28:15.

but next week we drop in on the school but thinks it's

:28:16.:28:18.

cracked the formula for success. Meet the maths geniuses

:28:19.:28:20.

hoping to take the UK When you actually get it

:28:21.:28:23.

and get the answer right, So brush up on your algebra

:28:24.:28:29.

for next Monday at 7:30pm. Hello, I'm Riz Lateef

:28:30.:28:38.

with your 90 second update. The Government says national

:28:39.:29:05.

security means it won't confirm

:29:06.:29:09.

Artha Ahmad investigates the tradition of 'blacking up' at folk events in Cornwall. And naturalist Nick Baker goes on a whale watch.


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