Humble Barnacles and Surprise Ducks

8 May

2013-05-08 19.58.11

That Kate Humble and Springwatch, lovely and sweet, or maybe forthright and controversial as a full house tonight at the Swindon Arts Centre found out. Opinionated and funny from the moment she took to the stage, Humble engaged the audience with evidence based viewpoints and an insight into the steely sense of purpose that has seen her become such a respected and arresting performer. Her comfort with the unexpected was soon tested as some newly hatched ducks from Lower Shaw Farm briefly shared the stage with the BBC star. Typically there was nothing to faze Kate as she eagerly clutched one of the birds to her chest and commenced her interview with Matt Holland. A serious, considered speaker, Humble covered a range of topics from visiting apartheid blighted South Africa in the late 80’s to ‘see for herself’ to the scientific case against a badger cull. Even a saucy secret about the remarkable size of barnacle privates was shared with an audience eager to hear her nuggets of wisdom. Talking about her new book ‘Humble by Nature’, the conservationist presented a passionate case for the protection of the countryside by making every inch of it work. Humble argued that eco-systems now need to be managed because human beings have modified their environment so much. Honouring the literary aspect of the festival, Kate also reminisced about falling in love with the poetry of e e cummings at school only to be told by a teacher to stick to the study of George Crabbe, a far less attractive proposition in her opinion. With her hour on stage rushing by it was left for Humble to provide further surprises via Devizes and a naughty Limerick which made me regret that she had chosen not to settle in Wiltshire permanently, preferring Wye Valley sheep to Madonna’s country estate.

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