Pro­vided the don­key

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - COMMENT -

“Re­gard­ing the re­cent pho­to­graph of Alf Robert­son at Cam­per­down Park,” emails Bert Lums­den of Dundee, “Alf was a su­per au­thor­ity on all things nat­u­ral.

“In 1976 Dundee Oper­atic So­ci­ety pro­duced The Desert Song which was per­formed in the White­hall The­atre and Alf pro­vided Hazel the don­key each night to take part.

“By the end of the week Hazel knew her ‘moves’ and Alf even dressed him­self as an Arab and also took part. Great fun though a bit messy at times back­stage!”

Alf, who was a nat­u­ral­ist and wildlife ex­pert died in 2009, aged 88. An ap­pre­ci­a­tion of his life and work by his friend David Orr ap­peared in this col­umn and I am in­debted to his nephew, David Robert­son, for sup­ply­ing a cut­ting (see below).

David wrote: “Alf was born in the farm­house of Lo­gie, in Lochee, Dundee, the sixth child of farmer and haulage con­trac­tor Ed­ward Robert­son. He had an in­ter­est in na­ture from an early age and his tal­ent for ob­ser­va­tion made him a wel­come stu­dent in fine art at Dun­can of Jor­dan­stone School of Art in Dundee.

“The on­set of war in 1939 saw him needed in in the fam­ily busi­ness, but his pas­sion for wildlife proved undi­min­ished and, even as a forestry con­trac­tor, Robert­son con­tin­ued to breed birds.

“At home in Monikie he had a pri­vate zoo that in­cluded a mon­key, many birds and a roe deer raised from a day-old kid.

“Alf pro­duced a wooden sculp­ture of a High­land cow and calf which was pre­sented to Dundee’s twin city of Wurzburg in Ger­many.”

An ap­pre­ci­a­tion of Alf Robert­son ap­peared in the Craigie col­umn sev­eral years ago. The cut­ting on the right shows how it looked in the pa­per in 2010. See more about Alf above.

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