12 September 2010 (Sunday) - Ducks

Amazing! I went to bed at a sensible hour last night and was woken by ‘er indoors TM at 9.30am. I don’t think I’ve slept so well for ages. ‘er indoors TM was off to an arky-ologee club dig. I was toying with the idea of going along, but to be honest, I’m not a fan of practical arky-ologee. Firstly the scrubbling around in the dirt leaves me aching for days afterwards. And secondly I can’t work up much enthusiasm for unearthing dull bits of broken pots. Were they worth having, some dead Roman wouldn’t have thrown them away in the first place.

I could have gone to Challock Goose Fair today. The astro club were putting on a stall there. But if I’d gone along and helped, then I’d have to talk knowledgably to the normal people. I can blag my way at astro club meetings; noisily selling the raffle makes me obviously “a character” in the eyes of the general public there, and I can cover up my ignorance with blather and get away with it. But out on show (like at the Goose Fair) is somewhat different. And I can’t help that it wouldn’t look good on the club when it’s painfully apparent I don’t know the first thing about telescopes. And being at the Goose Fair would tempt me to spend money when I’m trying to be frugal (i.e. downright mean!).

Another possible activity for today was a day in a beer garden. I had told one of my students I might call in at her engagement party. But the Fountain in Hythe isn’t the most accessible of pubs when one is using public transport, and I can’t afford an afternoon at the pub. I’ve done it before (occasionally!)  and I know what I’m like.

The original plan for the day was actually for me to be in France; at Dieppe Kite Festival. I went a couple of years ago and had a really good time. I had intended to go back this year, but I got my dates mixed up and thought next weekend’s birthday was this weekend. So having had so many other plans for the day, what did I actually do…

I read on Facebook that a fellow Blogger had possibly snapped an ankle bone following a visit to an osteopath. How appropriate (!) So I made a quick diversion up to the hospital to deliver the casualty. Rather than having her hobble across the car park, I went in to ask if they had a spare wheel chair. They did, so I took it, loudly announcing to all the punters in the casualty waiting room that I was going to sell it on eBay. Not one cracked a smile. Miserable bunch. Mind you, I suppose that each and every one of them probably had better things to be doing with their time rather than sitting around a hospital on a Sunday morning.

Having deposited Heather to the tender mercies of the Accident and Emergency department I set for to the Bat-Farm to help with ducks. Following a swift (leisurely) cup of coffee we rounded up the ducks, caged them, and took them on a car ride across several fields to their new pond. We had fun making the pond fox-proof by putting up an electric fence, and even more fun using the electric fence to electrocute each other. Then, having trimmed a landing stage where the ducks can get in and out of the pond easily, we released the ducks into their new home. Well, I say “released” – we opened the cage door and stood back to see their reaction to their new environment. There was no reaction; they wouldn’t come out of the cage. We waited for ten minutes before forcibly chivvying them out, and then we again sat back to see what they would make of the pond. And again they didn’t make much of it, merely milling round making quiet quacking noises. There was a moment’s excitement when one of the ducks fell in the pond by mistake, but he quickly scrabbled back out of the pond with a very indignant quack. We gave the ducks another fifteen minutes before we got bored with them, and then we attempted to chase them into the pond. I wonder if any of my loyal readers have ever attempted to chase a duck. They are relatively easy things to chase. But chasing them with a specific destination in mind takes some doing. They were going absolutely everywhere except into the pond. So we gave up and left the ducks to it. And as we got to the Land Rover to drive back to the farm, we heard some splashing; they’d finally found the pond.

We were by now a tad peckish, and so we adjourned to the Mundy Bois, one of the better local pubs. Clive had offered to treat us all to a light salad, as the “Rear Admiral” wasn’t very hungry. The first course of the light salad was pate. Very nice pate. For my main salad course I was hoping for pork (!), but they’d had a rush on, and had run out of pork. I could sympathise with that and so I settled for beef. It was a cracking bit of dinner, and we all struggled to get it down. I would have stopped at that point, but I was reliably informed that not eating the pudding course of a light salad is rude, so I had a cheesecake. There were those greedy ones amongst us who had a fruit crumble; the ingredients of which were shrouded in mystery. The “Rear Admiral” said it was a very nice apricot crumble. The waitress and chef said it didn’t have apricot in it. What did he actually eat? Other than the fact that it was smothered in custard, we shall probably never know.

Back to the farm where we thought we’d take a stroll up to see how the ducks were doing; we felt we could do with walking off the light salad. It transpired that the ducks were doing very well, so we fed them (some more) and we then took a stroll round the other ponds, before trying to find a shortcut home. “Trying” being the operative phrase. I have this theory about short cuts. If they really were shorter, then they wouldn’t be called a short cut. They would be called “The Way”.

And so home to find that my fellow Blogger had torn some ligaments (ouch!), and that ‘er indoors TM had had a wonderful time at the arky-ologee club dig. As well as unearthing several manky bits of broken crockery, they’d found a subterranean wall, and Mossop (the arky-ologee club’s resident Riddler) had found a new friend. Which was nice for Mossop. I think the next time the arky-ologee bunch do a dig I shall again see how the ducks are doing….

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