Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Feathers all the way Down

Sometimes, you can feel like you've just seen too many ducks.

As we await anxiously for the time when the eggs are hatching out - a little delayed by the weather this year - and for when our Community pet ducks, Hoi Sin and Alorange, become parents - I  have been much struck by the Asinine Folk, a little tiny group within our Beaker community. I suspect they mean "anserine", but they're probably right first time.

Their belief is that the world does not plummet smoothly through space, its inertia balancing out the gravitational pull of the Sun, as one would normally presume. Oh no. They believe the Earth is carried on the back of a giant goose. When we ask why none of the other planets appear to be carried by cosmic waterfowl, the response is always the same - "they're very shy".

Still, their rather quaint beliefs did offer the possibility of a creative liturgy, so I went with it. And this afternoon we held the Festival of Water Fowl. A Moot House, the twenty or so Beaker Folk who either don't have proper jobs or are here on retreat, and a bunch of geese and ducks.

The theory was that, with the paddling pool inflated and filled in the middle of the Moot House, we'd follow the Proverbial injunction to cast our bread upon the waters, and the birds would jump in to feed, and we'd all go "ah" at the sheer duckiness of it, and go away with a warm feeling at the wonders of feathery nature.

Some chance. Instead, Stacey got ambushed by a bunch of Canada Geese, who could tell she had a carrier bag full of granary loaf. Stacey panicked, and ran round the place pursued by our beaky friends. Tripped over a slow-moving Aylesbury, ended up face down in the paddling pool with a bunch of mallards on her back.

So we dragged her out, and beat off the birds with a couple of candlesticks. The geese fought back, and Burton took a nasty peck to the hand. Lashed out automatically, as you do, and just attracted a load of stroppy birds. An owl, that had wandered in for no apparent reason, latched onto his nose.

Just when it was all becoming terrifyingly Hitchcockian, Young Keith wandered back from work, took one look at the scene, and came up with the obvious answer. Next we knew, Grendel the Community cat had appeared and was tearing round the place. Thus curing the duck problem, and incidentally displacing the Beaker Folk - who are more scared of Grendel than they are of birds.

So the Moot House was covered in feathers and Burton's blood, there's feathers all over the place, and people have realised there are things in this life more scary than badgers. But, on the whole, it's been the best Ladies' Bright Hour we've had in ages.


  1. Ahh our ole gander done put the cats to flight many a time. Was only a raging hound could bring him to the ground.

  2. Our trio of runner ducks put a Conservative canvasser to flight. He said he'd rather face a pack of fierce dogs. We had to put a post box outside and when we had a countess visiting it took the entire family to catch them and shut them up before she arrived. No one could walk up the garden path without ducks attached to their ankles. Must have been something about our fowls, the hens killed any crows who tried to share their food.


Drop a thoughtful pebble in the comments bowl