No-one knows how he* came to be, but all who have seen him have been left touched by his amazing beauty.
I first saw The White Squirrel** about six or seven years ago, when I worked in Southwark Town Hall. He was gamboling in the gardens in front of the Sceaux Estate, eating a nut like a regular squirrel — except he was as white as the driven snow. I thought he was the most beautiful squirrel I’d ever seen***.
I saw him on the odd occasion after that, but when I moved away from Camberwell I assumed he had died. So it was a great and welcome shock when I saw him again a few months ago, this time in front of the estate near Vestry Mews. I pointed him out to my wife, and we marvelled at his sleek, colour-free fur.
It’s not every place that is fortunate to have a White Squirrel, so is yet another reason why Camberwell is blessed. Perhaps we should start a fund to build a statue to him.
There used to be a White Lady, but she was just a black lady who painted herself white and was a patient at The Maudsley, so she doesn’t hold the same prestige for me.
* Or she, but I’ll use the masculine throughout this post as it is easier, and I am a raging misogynist.
** It could be a different squirrel, of course, but according to the Ohio History Central they can live up to 10 years — although one year is the average. It’s a tough world out there.
*** His tail is less bushy that that of other squirrels and, being albino, he probably has evil red eyes. But from a distance, he’s lovely.