Should we feed bread to the swans? I don’t see the harm, says Mark Murphy

Should we feed bread to the swans? Mark Murphy says yes but is he right? Picture: Nigel Pickover

Should we feed bread to the swans? Mark Murphy says yes but is he right? Picture: Nigel Pickover - Credit: Archant

BBC Radio Suffolk’s Mark Murphy says he has it on good authority that feeding bread to the swans is perfectly fine. Do you agree though?

Should we feed bread to swans?

Do herrings make you live longer?

Would you pay £15 for cup of coffee? And does a pie need a bottom as well as a top to be pie?

As you can see, it’s been another rich and varied week for topics on my BBC Radio Suffolk breakfast show.

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After a sign was put up in the Lake District telling people not to feed the swans, they’ve been venturing into Bowness in search of food.

It’s not the first time we’ve heard of swans being hungry like this.

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I’m one who still feeds bread to ducks and swans but before you chastise me, I spoke to the British Trust for Ornithology and their spokesperson could see no real reason why we should stop.

Hurrah, common sense at last.

It’s one of life’s simple pleasures and it’s often a child’s first contact with a wild animal.

The argument has been that the bread sinks to the bottom of the pond or it attracts rats.

Well, every time I feed it to swans or ducks not a drop gets wasted - they gulp it straight down.

So despite the warning signs, I’ll continue to help them fill their bellies.

Are you with me?

We featured the herring story on Wednesday after reading in the Eastern Daily Press about 106 year old Vera Read who was born in Oulton Broad. She put her longevity down to living by the sea and eating herrings!

The humble herring was once part of our staple diet and is now in plentiful supply again but it seems hardly anyone is eating them apart from Vera.

It’s bonkers, they’re dirt cheap and really good for us but we seem to have forgotten how good they are.

When was the last time you ate one?

We heard on the show from June Mummery who runs the Lowestoft fish market that these days a lot of them are being fed to penguins in zoos! Now I’m sure they love them but what a waste. So why are they out of fashion?

Back in the 1970s, herring numbers dropped and we stopped fishing for them for several years. It seems during this time we simply forgot about them.

Just across the water in the Netherlands, herrings are eaten in massive numbers. They even have herring stalls in the way we have burger stalls. Can you imagine that over here? So if it’s good enough for Vera, why not give them a try?

As for the £15 cup of coffee, that’s on sale up there in the capital. When I think about what we pay for a cup these days it makes my blood boil. It’s a far cry from the cheap drink served in a Pyrex cup at Newsteads in Ipswich when I was child. Mum would take me in for a cup and still have change for a sausage roll each too!

It’s also Pie Week this week and we had a bit of a falling out on the show about what constitutes a pie.

For me a pie needs a pastry top, sides and bottom. It can’t be a pie if it’s only got a lid on.

So often these days that’s all you get in a restaurant, a casserole dish with a pastry top on. That’s not a pie in my book. But then fish pie and shepherd’s pie were brought up in the debate and they have no pastry!

So, if you know the definitive answer, do let me know!

As you can see, it’s been quite a varied week and for once barely a mention Brexit but I suspect that won’t last!

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