Let’s Go Outside: Oh, For Duck’s Sake

29 Apr
One of the female ducks.

One of the female ducks.

What were you doing at 4.45 this morning? Sleeping?

Well, I was climbing a rickety fence into the farmer’s field at the bottom of our paddock, in my pyjamas, in order to find a duck.

The ducks, as lovely as they are, have started quacking very early in the morning. Firstly, at 4.40am, I have one female, Vanessa, and the male, Neville, walking past our bedroom, from the pond. The female likes to announce this fact. ‘I’m walking past human, quack, QUACK, just thought you’d like to know. QUACK!‘ I open the window, they see me, and carry on their journey into the paddock. I go back to bed.

Five minutes later,

‘QUACK, QUACK, WHERE HAVE THE OTHER TWO GONE, PANIC, QUACK!’ We have the second female, Jemima, coming to find Vanessa and Neville. She can’t see them anywhere. I can’t see them anywhere. Then, in the distance, at the far end of the paddock I see a lone male duck running as fast as he can to join Jemima.

Jemima, meanwhile is still quacking. I can’t see Vanessa, the first female, with Neville. So I go downstairs, pop on my clogs and go outside. Neville has now joined Jemima (at this point I didn’t know if it was Jemima or Vanessa and whether this was the same duck as earlier – I was half asleep and didn’t know what the hell was going on.) But then I heard a distant quack. This was more than a clog job. I went inside to grab my wellies, torch and thick cardi and returned to the duck commotion.

The moon was still out, the solar night light was still on, it was that magical time when it was just starting to get light. The birds were in full flow, singing away like mad, and stomping across the paddock in my short pink wellies I was quite enjoying myself. I just wished I could have had more sleep.

I knew what Vanessa duck was doing – yet at the same time I was worried she’d been caught by a fox. The bottom of the paddock next to the farmer’s field is the Fox Flight Path. But for reasons only known to her, she has decided to lay her egg down there. Normally they both lay on Duck Island in the middle of the pond, and one of them still does, but she, why? why? wants to go as far away as possible into the heart of danger. Neville, the courteous gentleman he is, goes with her to protect her, but this leaves the other one laying on the island with no protection. Once she’s finished she yells for Neville to come and fetch her. (Poor chap, torn between two demanding women). And this is where the quacking gets urgent.

The prize egg.

The prize egg.

I stood in the farmer’s field with them for a while. As I waited I had a root around and found a smashed duck egg shell, probably from a few days ago. I watched the duck, sitting there on her makeshift nest, but it’s like watching a pot urging it to boil. And I was getting cold. So I stomped off back to bed. Then got up ten minutes later. I was now wide awake. Well, I might as well let the chickens out.

As I did I saw the ducks returning up the paddock. So I went to collect my egg prize. This had better make a blimmin’ good cake.

Lots of coffee for me today, I think.

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One Response to “Let’s Go Outside: Oh, For Duck’s Sake”

  1. Lori Fontanes May 2, 2013 at 5:18 pm #

    Pour me a cup, too? 🙂

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