All this week has been about the supposedly forgotten doings and dealings of the mystery canoeist. I know what the mystery is for me. Why would a man go out early morning ,not the warmest time of the day; Esspecially in the North East ,not the warmest part of the country; To go canoeing in the North Sea ,not the warmest stretch of water in the world. Aaah ,all these mysteries just lining up to increase my bafflement and beffudlement with the world. But ,all is not lost .According to my very tall Geordie mate Simon,the answers obvious. He reliably informed me that given a choice between staying in Hartlepool and freezing your nuts off on the North Sea, most people would go for the latter. And i must admit ,i've noticed they do like their canoes up the North East. He also told me the tale of THE MONKEY HANGERS. Which i shall now relate to you ...Sitting comfortably ?..Right i shall begin.
It was during the Napoleonic wars . A ship ran aground ,or sank,or some 'shippy' thing like that,around Hartlepool. The only survivor was a monkey. The monkey was the ships mascot and was dressed in a little military looking uniform. The locals had never seen a Frenchman and had only heard the horrific anti -'frog' propaganda ,and hoplessly exaggerated drunken tales from in the Ale-'ouses. Much the same as today. So ,they jumped to the obvious and safe conclusion that the monkey was a French spy. So, they gave the condemned monkey his last banana and hung him.Well, lets face it ,he was a lousey lucky mascot for the ship and it's crew. And he didn't have much luck for himself. He was also a lousy spy, the French never did find out Hartlepools military secrets(?),or where the canoes were kept. But the French lost the war, coincidence? I think not. But since then according to Simon who's from the fine city of Newcastle the Hartlepoolians are known as MONKEYHANGERS. But he would say that ,wouldn't he .