The Cutester and I were out on the seafront last week, Pokemon hunting, when we spotted a seal.

Sadly, it wasn’t the sort of seal I’d hoped for – it was dead. Very beautiful, with its sleek gold and silver mottled skin, and big dark eyes, and catlike whiskers, but dead.

‘Maybe it’s just fainted,’ suggested the Cutester.

So we carried on our sweep of all the Pokestops on Newcastle’s promenade and came back, but it was still dead.

This was sad enough, but then we saw a tiny dead seal, rolling back and forth in the surf. The Cutester insisted on going up to it for a better look. She came away pretty quick.

‘It was like Nearly Headless Nick,’ she told me.

All very upsetting. It’s the way they are basically Labradors with flippers, I think.

So we stood on the promenade and prayed that we’d get to see a living seal very soon.

This was the next Pokemon we caught:

‘I don’t think God is taking us very seriously,’ I told the Cutester. ‘In fact this has raised some serious questions for me about his character.’

‘No, Mummy, that was just a starter!’ she said. Full of faith.

And behold, the next day on the seafront – staring at my phone and barely paying attention to the sea – I looked up and saw a seal! A real one. Very much alive. It was head and shoulders above the water (or would have been if seals had shoulders).

‘Look look look a seal!’ I shouted.

‘It’s probably dead,’ said the Redster.

‘No, it’s not! Look!’

‘Or dying. The life draining slowly from its body…’


‘…as it writhes in mortal agony…’

‘…while its young wait for it to come back…’


‘…lonely and afraid…’

‘Cutester! Look! A seal!’

The Cutester was suitably happy and excited. We even saw a second one a few hundred yards away, which Mr Suburbanite insists was the same one, but what does he know?

To put this in context, we’ve been coming to Newcastle Co. Down for years – and despite often looking out for them, the last time I remember spotting a seal in that bay was about 30 years ago.

Feel free to dismiss this as coincidence – but to me it’s been a reminder that if you don’t ask, you don’t get. I’m glad I actually asked, out loud, after years of just wishing to see a seal. The rapid answer told me two things: that God loves us to communicate with him and he with us, and that he’s the Lord of a wild and wonderful creation.


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