THE curators of the Captain Cook Museum should not perhaps get too excited at the idea of the spear reputed to have killed the great navigator coming to Marton.

According to one commentator, speaking after the spear fetched an astonishing £135,000 at auction last week, its authenticity is dubious to say the least.

Indeed Stephen Hooper, the director of the Sainsbury Research Unit for the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas at the University of East Anglia, says the spear joins a long list of items which have been claimed to be the club, dagger, spear, stone etc which brought about Cook's demise.

He believes Cook was killed by a iron dagger acquired from the British.

Dr Ashok Kumar, the East Cleveland MP, should bear this in mind in his efforts to bring the aforesaid spear to the region.

Ducks a dodging

MONDAY morning, 8.45, and it seemed to be push-your-luck day as cars drove straight out of side roads into the main traffic stream, not waiting to be waved out, and giving other drivers a "thank you" wave - which, as Marriott Edgar wrote in his monologue on the Battle of Hastings "was swank, 'cos they 'adn't much choice".

Spectator's colleague, up and about since 5am to ferry a very early train-catcher, was getting slightly frayed at the edges when the 4x4 in front, and everything in the adjacent lane, came to a total halt for no apparent reason.

Then the reason appeared, strolling between the cars as if he had all day - as he had, of course. He was a sleek and shining mallard drake, pushing his own luck on the ground route from roundabout to verge. Commuters do care, after all, even if it's for duck and not fellow drivers.

Takes all sorts

SPECTATOR has always been aware of the variety of activities and opportunities which come with membership of a Young Farmers' Club - go-karting and sheep judging; welly hoying and talks from a vet; ice-skating and Land Rover handling - but this week's reports underline the fact.

Members at Staindrop had flower arranging on Monday, with no mention of the lads being excused secateurs; tomorrow they are muckspreading. All of them.

Catterick plans a practice for Cledale district rally entrants "including mobile phone and shoe judging". What? Then comes "would everyone take a toilet roll for the toilet roll challenge". Probably best not to ask after all.