Henman, Swanman

Newspaper reports of the annual swan upping on the Thames reminded me of an amusing swan-related matter which I had unaccountably forgotten to mention. During the Wimbledon tennis championships, I forget which game exactly though it may have been one of the men’s semi-finals, during one of the breaks between sets, the BBC cameras drifted off to the surrounding scene, and showed a jetty by the river around which sunbathers sprawled. Also present was a swan, approached by a tiny tot who looked as if she was wanting to feed it a sandwich. The proximity of tot to swan led one of the commentary team to observe that, belying their elegance and grace, swans are of course savage and aggressive creatures. Whereupon fellow-commentator Tim Henman – whose surname suggests he knows a thing or two about birds, or at least about poultry – said (and I paraphrase from memory):

Whenever you see a swan, someone always points out that they are capable of breaking your arm. Have you ever met anybody who’s had their arm broken by a swan? I haven’t.

Sadly, the cameras then returned to the tennis, and we were not treated to any further swan-talk from Hen-man.


Swan upping in the last century

One thought on “Henman, Swanman

  1. I’m sure Virginia Wade would be able to advise. And ‘Goolagong’ probably translates as ‘Pallid, inedible, deceptive and barbarous avian of spiteful boneshattering proclivities’.

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