Tag Archives: ducks

1969. Nesting season

Squaggle Quack was a duck. More particularly, he was a drake. And what a fine drake he was! Mrs. Quack was known as Mrs. Quack, although her closest friends called her Seaxburh. She was named after Queen Seaxburh, an ancient Queen of Wessex. Her maiden name was Hrafnkelsdóttir. Very few know that.

The time had come for Squaggle and Seaxburh to start a family. The first priority was to choose a site for the nest. What a shamozzles! They couldn’t agree. Squaggle wanted the nest in the long grass on the side of a road.

“It’s dangerous,” said Seaxburh. “And there’s absolutely no view. What about on the side of that hill where I can enjoy the view of the valley as I sit on the eggs for four weeks?”

The discussion raged for several days. In the end, Squaggle won. A nest was made on the side of the road, with no view, and open to the elements.

“I think we should have eleven eggs,” suggested Squaggle.

“But I had my heart set on nine eggs,” said Seaxburh. In the end, Squaggle won. Eleven eggs were laid.

Seaxburh began the marathon of sitting on eleven eggs in a cold nest next to the road. It was the most boring thing she had ever done in her life. So uninteresting! So testing! And the rain! You’ve no idea!

In the meantime, Squaggle had flown off at the beginning of the sitting session and never bothered to come back. He’d done his part.

When the eleven ducklings hatched, Seaxburh told them that their family name was Seaxburhsdóttir or Seaxburhssen. Good on you, Seaxburh!

1914. Award 23: The Aqueduct Plugger Award

Just when I was beginning to doubt the existence of any sort of Higher Being, The Dumbest Blog Ever nominated me for The Adequate Blogger Award. Thank you Dumbest Blogger – it is indeed a thrill. This exemplary award was created by James of James Proclaims. Thank you, James. James not only has interesting postings but he makes pithy and/or sharp-eyed comments here and there. James thinks that answering the questions of this award is “really just a box ticking exercise”. Well James, get yourself a coffee and make yourself comfortable, because I’m about to tick (check) a few boxes regarding The Dumbest Blogger’s complex queries about the meaning of life.

Yipee!

The Dumbest Blogger’s Stupid Questions:

1. Do you like birds?

I am a bird freak – just chickens and ducks. The ducks will have to wait another time because I want to tell you about my Faverolles. Faverolles are a breed of chicken that have an extra toe on each foot. The males have gallant beards and the females have gorgeous ear muffs. They are the quintessence of what the carol Twelve Days of Christmas sings of on the third day when the gift was “Three French Hens”. Faverolles are French! I don’t have them for eggs or meat. I have them for style.

Incidentally, even one bird is a Faverolles – it still has the S on the end. Isn’t that classy? Sort of like a double small “f” starting a surname. Here is a photo of a couple of French Ladies – they are definitely a class act of ffaverolles.

Below is a photo of my rooster who was once King of the Fowl Yard. He looks vicious, but Faverolles have the loveliest of characters. So if you have little kids and you want a couple of pet chickens, get Faverolles. They are child friendly and won’t attack and claw and peck like other beastly breeds. They are a large breed although apparently there is a bantam variety. I’ve never seen the bantam variety so don’t know if they’re as child-friendly as the larger Faverolles.

This particular rooster teamed up with the dog. Every day together they would patrol the garden. No other member of the poultry establishment was allowed over the fence to scratch about. A stray hen would be chased by dog and rooster back to safer ground. The dog and the rooster were inseparable for about three years. The best of friends!

One day an up-and-coming young rooster challenged this big rooster to a fight. The big rooster came off second best. He was no longer in charge of the harem. Mortified he came into the garden to patrol with the dog, and the dog bit the big rooster’s head off.

2. What is your favourite movie?

My favourite movie is Babette’s Feast. If you haven’t seen it don’t expect an action-packed experience. It’s a couple of hours about a woman cooking dinner.

The lead character in this marvelous 1987 film is Stéphane Audran. (The film got an Oscar – if you think that’s important). It’s a brilliant movie.

I have seen this movie twice which is twice more than I have seen The Lord of the Rings. I have also seen The Dam Busters twice – back in the late 1950s – but it’s not as good as Babette’s Feast. As you can see, I’m not that big on going to the pictures. I’ve made three or four attempts to watch Gone with the Wind, the last time being just the other day after they threatened to ban it. The video began and I awoke from a deep sleep on the sofa three hours later and everyone else had gone to bed.

3. When was the last time you used a pencil?

Gosh! It must be years. These days they have medication.

When I was a kid, before the Internet and before TV, my first cousin Bert Worsnop and me (we were the same age) collected coloured pencils. You registered somewhere, and every now and again you’d get some coloured pencils in the mail. Each was a different shade. I think there was something like 180 different shades in the collection. They were fantastic. Of course they were so precious that we kept them in a cabinet and took them out simply to look at but never use.

4. What would you do for a Klondike bar?

My maternal grandmother’s brother, Uncle Herbert (Charles Herbert Lightoller – the highest in command saved off the Titanic!) joined the gold rush in Canada’s Klondike in his earlier days. No doubt it was hard work, and he unquestionably would have killed for a Klondike Bar to quench his thirst up there in that wilderness.

Charles Herbert Lightoller

To get a modern Klondike bar I would have to buy a ticket to North America because I’m not sure that they have them where I live. My passport died years ago, so no Klondike bar for me unless a Klondike bar gets mailed over. We have Eskimo Pies – although the name has recently been changed I believe to something less systemically racist.

Incidentally, I have a letter (in my possession) from Great Uncle Herbert written to my grandmother in which he says “Imagine Doreen expecting her fifth. It must be something in the weather”. That fifth was me! So I was almost famous (of Titanic fame) even before I was born.

I took my mother to see the Titanic movie and all she said at the end was “All that money and he wasn’t the slightest bit like Uncle Herbert.” (She also insisted – family tradition – that the captain of Titanic was drunk).

5. What is the biggest problem facing the human race at this moment in history?

The artistic world is ruled by rules. Publishes and marketers determine what is good and what is bad. This book won’t sell so it’s bad. AND never start a sentence with an “And”. And you use the passive voice. And… And you should do this. And you should do that. This is the way to paint and write and compose. The artist’s world can’t change the world because it’s hidebound by the world.

Anyone who steps out of the established pattern is a nobody.

It’s like lab technicians claiming to be scientists. They’re not scientists; they’re technicians. They put stuff into beakers according to how they’ve been told.

Einstein played the violin. Newton sat in the apple orchard.

Bring back creative people and stop telling everyone how things should be done! Yeah – the bees are in my bonnet.

Newton, Beethoven, Einstein
If you want to employ a genius you have to put up with the hair

6. If James has 42 pieces of chocolate, and Joe has 37 pieces of chocolate, and both James and Joe give 3 pieces of chocolate to Susan, then what is the moral significance of James having 42 pieces of chocolate to begin with?

Clearly Susan had secretly given James the 42 pieces of chocolate in the first place for “favours received” – possibly one on each occasion. Bad luck, Joe. I doubt whether this snippet of unethical behaviour could be classed as having “moral significance”.

When I went to boarding school (in my teens – we weren’t rich and snobby we just lived too far from a high school so we had to go to a boarding school) a dining table sat eight students: seven plus a “table prefect”. Everyone had their set table and chair. There were about 450 students. The small daily slab of butter was in a dish on each table, undivided and uncut. Turns were taken each day to divide the butter into eight equal parts. The person doing the dividing would get the final piece – just to make sure it was divided evenly. Oh the care taken over a quarter inch butter cube!

James and Joe and Susan and others can stick their chocolate or butter where-ever. Personally, I’m off to grab an Eskimo Pie before they go the way of Gone with the Wind.

The Rules – see Question 5 above!

My Nominees:

Anyone who knows me knows I don’t nominate but I recommend. This is NOT because I’m lazy but because I’m lazy. It’s also NOT because I’m afraid of hurting those who miss out because they haven’t been nominated but because I’m afraid of hurting those who miss out because they haven’t been nominated. If I may – just this once – take the easiest way out and suggest clicking on the icons of those who give this a like. That way you’ll be taken magically to their site where there’s so much to discover!

Thanks for reading and thanks again to The Dumbest Blogger and James Proclaims.

1841. Eustace’s ducks

Eustace was eleven years old. He lived in the country. He had four pet ducks. They were black and white.

A river passed through the neighbouring farm. It wasn’t a big river; more of a large stream. One day Eustace’s ducks waddled down to the river and went for a swim. Eustace told the farmer. The farmer didn’t mind. He said the ducks were welcome to cross his fields and swim all day if they wished. Besides, they looked pretty swimming around.

So that is what they did. Every morning before school Eustace would let the ducks out of their pen and they would waddle down to the river. They messed about in the river all day. Then after school (after he had done his homework) he would go down to the river, call the ducks, and they would follow him home. Of course they followed because they knew it was dinner time.

One day Eustace went down to the river and called but no ducks came. Then he saw them. They had been shot at close range by a hunter and tossed into a pool in the river. The hunter hadn’t even bothered to take them home to eat.

Eustace never got any more ducks.

1789. Sasha’s collection

Sasha had collected quite a large number of dolls over the years. It began when she was in Fiji – as a tourist. She wanted to purchase something as a memento and the doll of a Fijian woman in traditional costume was the perfect reminder of a wonderful trip.

The following year Sasha and her husband visited Austria. An Austrian doll was the perfect souvenir. The next year it was Peru. Then Jamaica.

“I didn’t realize we’d been to so many countries,” remarked Sasha one day. “So far I’ve collected seventeen dolls from our trips overseas.”

But then things started to get a little loose. At the local market Sasha spied the most beautiful doll in a Moroccan outfit. It was perfect for her collection, even though she hadn’t been to Morocco. The collection built up quickly after that, and last count Sasha had over two hundred dolls. For her forty-seventh birthday, Sasha’s husband laid out the plans to build a room extension to the house. It would have lots of shelves and be perfect for a doll collection. And indeed it was!

By her fifty-eighth birthday Sasha had lost interest in the dolls. She had taken up quilting and with the removal of the shelves from the house’s extension it was the perfect size for a quilting room. Next time they travelled Sasha went from one quilting place to another.

And then she saw it! She just had to have it. It was in a quilting shop in Hong Kong. A small brass duck. It would be an admirable memento of their visit. Ornamental ducks would be the perfect things to collect.

Music 45: Gambolling lambkins

45lambs

Spring doesn’t officially start for more than a month, but already there are lambs cavorting around the fields.

School used to stop for three weeks in August when I was a kid, and I always reckoned that the wild ducks starting laying their eggs around August 15. So come the August vacation and I’d be looking for ducks’ nests. I always (privately) think that Spring begins mid-August!

Somewhere in today’s music there’s bits of an old nursery rhyme (I think).

602. Duck

© Bruce Goodman 4 June 2015

602duck

It was the hunting season. Colm was out shooting ducks with his good friend, Donald. They were both enthusiastic hunters. Colm shot a duck and Donald shot a duck. It was the same duck. Colm said he had shot it first and Donald said he had shot it first. They got into a huge row and wouldn’t talk to one another.

Colm shot at another duck. He missed the duck and shot Donald.

What a terrible accident!