Thursday, 16 September 2004

duck love

When we were kids we had a duck-pond in the back garden, populated with mallard ducks. Every so often a few wild ducks would take up residence and some of the domestic population would either leave for pastures new or be culled by the local fox contigent, who saw the pond as the fox equivalent of the nearest chippy.

Eventually we were down to one elderly drake, christened 'Diddy' by my grandmother. Every day, Diddy, his fires undimmed by his years, would make the long trek down to the small marsh a couple of miles away, in search of Duck Love. Every evening as it was getting dark, my grandmother would become anxious about his safety and would mobilise a rescue party.

Come rain come shine, my mother, my sister and I would don our wellington boots, arm ourselves with torches and sticks and sally forth with the rallying cry of 'Diddy Diddy Duck!'. As we approached the marsh, all the resident duck population would scatter. Diddy would realise that he was in danger of losing his free bed and board and would fly the two miles home, leaving his lady-friend to fend for herself until tomorrow.

We would then walk the two miles back to the house, in the dark, to find both my grandmother and Diddy safely tucked up in bed by the time we arrived.

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