24 April 2011 (Sunday) - Smarden Duck Race

Easter Sunday winds me up. I’ve blogged before that for all that the Church of England may claim that they have followers, the amount of people who call themselves Christians *and* actually understand what they claim to believe is vanishingly small. So why is it that today pretty much the entire country has been ordered to close up shop? Why should my life be put on hold for the crackpot superstitions of a very small minority?
My cousin in Hastings has the right idea. They are opening their shop regardless of what the superstitious crackpots say. And good for her (!) Talking of crackpots, I just *love* the internet. Having exposed a crackpot scam for what it is, the website eHow then goes on to carry adverts for the crackpot product it’s just debunked.

But even if the righteous have managed to close the world for one day, *my* world kept on going. Once the Rear Admiral had finished smashing beer bottles in the front garden (woops!) we set off to Smarden where the tribes were gathering. A dozen of us met up at the Bat-Farm and wandered into the village. Some wandered more easily than others depending on whether they got stuck (like ‘er indoors TM did) whilst attempting to cross the stile.
Once in the village we bought our plastic ducks and duck squawkers, and after a crafty pint we wandered up to the river to cheer our ducks on. The idea was that we all bought a numbered plastic duck and dropped them into a dustbin. The race officials then emptied the entire bin full of plastic ducks into the river, and the first one to be washed down the river to the finish line would be the winner. Last year the race was quite a lively affair as there’d been a lot of rain and the river was flowing fast. This year the water was barely moving. Eventually we got a winner, but the race wasn’t as thrilling as it might have been.

Having found the race was won by the village butcher and the “super-duck” category was won by one of the race officials we declared “Shenanigans”. We then gathered together as many of our party as we could find. As always whenever we go anywhere mob-handed, trying to round everyone up to move en-masse is somewhat akin to trying to herd cats. After ten minutes of wondering where everyone had got to, I herded myself, the Rear Admiral and the Bat to the pub, and hoped that everyone else would know where to find me. I was right – they did.

Whilst the girls admired the art in the village gallery, the lads admired the beer in the pub’s beer garden, and then with everyone together we made our way back to the farm for a barby.
Sitting in the sunshine with friends, reminiscing about what we’d done in the past, enjoying what was happening at the time, and planning for what might be in the future.
And once we’d eaten far too much we had a wander to meet the cows and sheep. “Daddies Little Angel TMtells me it is better to be licked by a sheep than by a cow. One lives and learns.
It was a really good day in the sunshine – must do it again soon !

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