A troubling affair this evening with the psychotic swan that blights my life on a regular basis.
He is a complete head-case. The two young ladies employed by the Environment Agency to maintain the rivers and their banks once told Maisie that he is the most dangerously-crazed nutter that they've ever encountered. And they once had to catch and remove a pike from the water, so they know of what they speak.
The swan's equally nut-job wife has managed to hatch nine cygnets, so daddy is extra-tetchy at present. Actually, the much milder-mannered swan on the private lake behind the fence has a wife who is sitting on babes as I type this. He wasn't swimming too close to her the other day, so perhaps they have had words. Personally, I suspect the psycho-swan has been playing away from home and may have forced himself upon the lady. I wouldn't put it past him. He could well be the real father of those eggs. If they hatch and grow up to be large and white, with long slender necks and orange beaks, we shall know the sordid truth...
This evening, I was being delightfully entertained by a group of young ducks. One poor lass managed a total of eleven - ELEVEN!! - eggs earlier this year. All of them hatched, foxes and rats kept away, and each duckling has survived to maturity, I am happy to say. I like ducks. They are harmless and they amuse me. I was finding particular glee in watching the eleven adolescent ducks mercilessly goading the evil swan. Three or four would swim up to him quacking until he turned on them, shouting and using words inappropriate for the ears of children, while chasing them and flapping his over-sized wings. The ducks would be just too fast for him and he would give up, only to have three or four more of them pop out from under the river bank right behind him. The eleven of them were a perfect example of a team working in unison to annoy a git and he rose to it every time. A lady watching from the bank was very worried and said that we should stop the swan; he was trying to kill the ducks. He would have killed them, if he'd caught them, but it only took a few minutes' observation to see that those little lads knew exactly what they were doing. The calm nearby presence of the ducks' mother proved that psycho-swan-baiting was an oft-practised game.
Of course, while the white-feathered-wacko was wasting his energy on cheeky ducklings, the stupid oaf was leaving his own wife and children entirely unattended. I could have gobbled up the lot of them and he wouldn't even have noticed. But I know enough about ladies with pups to leave WELL alone. Kipling was right: the female of the species is more deadly than the male. Besides, watching the hated swan repeatedly falling prey to the ducks' pranks was far too funny to miss.
Unfortunately, when he was growing tired, the swan spotted me laughing and started paddling angrily in my direction.
He accosted me before I could slink away. He demanded to know what I was laughing at. "Nothing, Sir." I replied.
"You were laughing at those little b*st*rds." I assured him that he was mistaken. He repeated his original question.
Perhaps - on pondering this with the benefit of hindsight - I should simply have told him the truth. Instead I explained that I was laughing at the thought I'd just had, which was that if I had a face like those of his wife and children I would shave my bottom and learn to walk backwards. For some reason, the evil beast took exception to this and flew at me, howling in rage. I (bravely) shrieked in terror and my partner quickly put herself between me and the irate swan. She sheltered me with her body while the swan attempted to assault me in the most foul manner. A tactical withdrawal was clearly in order.
"I hope all your children have really tiny willies!" I screamed at the flapping swan as my partner dragged me away from the scene, "And that INCLUDES the girls!!"
At this point, my partner scooped up all 20kg of me and legged it.
For her bravery I will award her, for one night only, an extra half-inch of duvet. I hate that swan.