Over the weekend we were out walking on the isle of Portland in Dorset. We kept coming across long-eared furry beings set on stone with cryptic messages such as ‘WE ARE HERE’. Non-plussed we walked on with the intention of discovering the answer to the mystery.
It turns out that on the isle a limestone called Portland stone is quarried. This stone hails from the Jurassic period and is used in such public buildings as St Pauls Cathedral and Buckingham Palace in the UK and the United Nations headquarters in New York City. Apparently, in the past when the stone was being quarried there was danger from rockfalls and stone avalanches. The quarrymen would notice that furry long haired beings would emerge from their underground dwellings just at the point that a rockfall or avalanche of stones was about to occur. Over time a superstition emerged on Portland that you should never mention the six-letter word beginning with ‘r’ because it brings bad luck. Hence images of furry beings with cryptic messages are to be found along the coastal path particularly at points where rockfalls are more likely.
The rest of the day we spent imagining alternate names. Hare’s cousin. Long-eared furry beings. Coneys. Bunnies. And we don’t wish you were here!