We interviewed Lancaster celebrities Bean the Duck and Merlin the Mole

It was a privilege to meet the main characters of Lancaster

Bean the Duck and Merlin the Mole are two very famous stuffed individuals at Lancaster University, having amassed over 3000 and 2000 followers respectively.

Both are very small but very busy, engaging in a wide variety of activities at Lancaster along with their human friends. Bean is more of a sights and sounds sort of guy, enjoying walks around the most scenic places in the region and a good bite to eat. On the other hand, Merlin participates more at the university and enjoys attending and rating lectures to learn something new!

However, there’s very little they won’t get up to: recently, they both visited the Black Axe Axe Throwing Company for some thrills, both have visited Sun Pizza, and Merlin recently floated away in a hot air balloon to clear his head.

Both accounts are very loved and provide welcome exposure for businesses and societies blessed with a visit from the duo, usually wanting to showcase what they have on offer. Their accounts also make for some very photogenic, colourful content.

To learn more about Lancaster’s dynamic duo, we interviewed the pair and asked some intriguing questions.

Bean the Duck

What is your most/least favourite part about living in Lancaster?

Bean’s favourite thing about living in Lancaster is that it is always raining and there are rivers and canals and the beach all around, so he can swim with his pals! He also loves the library because there’s loads of his favourite food – books.

Bean’s least favourite thing is how people treat the ducks and the environment here. People don’t recycle, and they throw things in the river. They also keep trying to feed him bread, which makes him sick, but it’s so irresistible, and he’s a duck, so it’s hard to resist a bit of wholegrain.

Do you get along with the other ducks on campus – are there any cliques?

Bean often feels left out; we’ve tried to get pictures with the other ducks, but they want to keep their distance. We’ve tried to convince him he’s special. He’s not like other ducks. He prefers hanging out with moles and lynxes and is really starting to come out of his shell.

Bean’s bio says to respect the environment- what is the best thing, in your opinion, that Lancaster University students could be doing to help the environment?

Bean is very passionate about this question, as the wildlife is really impacted by how we live on campus! It’s so important not to litter, especially for the ducks.

Supporting movements such as Green Lancaster and ensuring that everyone is aware of the climate impact that our daily activities are having – everyone has a different routine, and everyone can help. We hope to look more at how we can use Bean to tackle environmental issues in the future.

Lastly, we are also trying to promote a healthy vegetarian lifestyle; hence many of our Bean Cooks meals give cheap veggie alternatives to some of your favourite dishes!

What’s the best part about being friends with Merlin, the mole?

The best part about being friends with Merlin is the wider community. Our followers make this so much fun, and when we hear that they want us to do another collab or ask us about each other, it reminds us that this is something worth doing that brightens people’s days.

So, to answer the question, the best part about being friends with Merlin is that he’s the coolest mole in town! Bean often wishes he could one day attend a lecture with Merlin the Mole and thinks that his reviews are a really cool route to take the account on.

Merlin the Mole

What’s the best part about being Bean’s friend?

Well, Merlin’s initial motivation for creating this account was to one day try to be as “hip” and “cool” as Bean the Duck. So now, since Merlin is also a viral superstar, he is delighted to be on a first-name basis with Bean, and he still appreciates all the support he has received from Bean over these past few months.

Being friends with Bean also has its perks: primarily the ability to steal his followers, as well as being an absolute celebrity around campus. He does, however, find it difficult living in Bean’s massive shadow (“I didn’t know about the Mole, but I knew about the Duck!”).

What is the best lecture you’ve ever reviewed, and who’s your favourite lecturer?

Ooh, it’s a difficult one! Merlin’s only been to a few so far, but so far, it’s got to be the Computer Science lecture on databases. I’ve always thought to myself that Merlin has what it takes to be a Computer Scientist, ever since he hacked into the university’s mainframe to retrieve information about the times and places for all the lectures he wants to attend.

Merlin is still searching for his favourite lecturer. Currently, though, it’s by far and away from the Economics lecturer as Merlin instantly fell in love with him after hearing his soothing Italian accent.

Your bio describes you as having a passion for learning. What is your favourite thing to learn about?

Merlin is one of those moles who is constantly asking questions! He’s an extremely intellectually curious mole, and this same curiosity and love for learning are what prompted him to apply to Lancaster.

He’s got quite a broad range of interests from typical academic subjects like Medicine and Maths to a vast range of hobbies such as freestyle rap and parkour. Merlin hasn’t quite found his calling yet, as he continues to search for his true passion and enrich himself by attending other people’s lectures.

All photos courtesy of Bean and Merlin. Merlin the Mole’s Instagram account can be found here, and Bean the Duck’s account here.

For more information about Green Lancaster, click here, and for information on what you can and cannot feed to ducks, click here.

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