Saturday, 16 June 2012

Heralding Fathers' Day

We have had rather a strange, and somewhat difficult week. My 18 year old son should have been taking 'A' level exams but has managed to catch chicken pox, and, since he has been pronounced to be infectious throughout his period of exams, is not able to sit his papers. His sister is working through her first year of GCSE's, has had chicken pox, as had her brother, and is hoping not to catch it again!

Having first seen the tell-tale rash beginning last Saturday, visited the doctor, and then trying to return to some sort of normality - whilst feeling a little disoriented, my daughter and I went shopping. Seeing all the Fathers' Day displays - but not observing the associated date, we panicked at the thought we were unprepared, bought a card ( and one on behalf of her quarantined brother), and some nice items for a special tea and felt pleased with ourselves that we had not overlooked the occasion. Not having time to listen to the radio, or TV, on Sunday, we went ahead and celebrated Fathers' Day. On Monday, I was a little surprised to see TV adverts for '' cards still being televised. Realising our mistake, I phoned my husband and just managed to get in, before he asked, with "no - you-re not having another one next week'. I thought I had shared the joke with both kids, but it seems my daughter only found out yesterday, when listening to local radio, on her way to help at cub camp. How she can blame me entirely, when she had remained unaware I'm not sure!

At the beginning of half term, my husband and I had decided to have a stroll along the canal at Llangollen. Only about 25 minutes away, it's a favourite destination for a gentle walk - more strenuous options are also definitely available! The purpose this time was to get my annual 'duckling fix'. I am a lover of most wildlife (including wildflowers!) and I'm not sure why ducklings (and goslings) hold such a complete fascination for me. They are just such little characters, and I love the way they communicate with mum and she with them. We saw three families. One with ten tiny babies, nervous and unwilling to leave the far bank of the canal. Another with eight small babies - a little more confident but there were too many dogs about, and they were too small to bob under confidently for the corn which I offered them ( which always sinks swiftly!). The third family was on the River Dee near the center of town, at a popular family spot, where the river flows quickly on the far side, and easily morphs into a torrent - which provides the white water sought by kayakers. Two of the ducklings were mottled brown - typical of malards. The other two were a lovely fluffy yellow, Jemima Puddleduck style, more like Aylesburys. They were about twice the size of the others we had seen but still small for such fierce water. Chased by two unsympathetic children, I hardly dared watch as they set off for the peace and quiet on the opposite bank. They did drift downstream quite a way but all made it safely!

At his time of year, 'Daddy' ducks tend to group with their male friends and often have nothing to do with their offspring. Fathers' Day isn't much fun for them I fear. I found this little group on the banks of the Dee at the Horseshoe Falls. Starting to moult but still very beautiful - I hadn't really looked at what I thought were the matt grey feathers on their backs before. They are no more a single drab gray colour, than the back of a barn owl is a boring beige (if you've seen the beauty of a barn owl close to you'll know what I mean). They also appreciated my corn. For some reason I am always nervous of being 'bitten' by ducks - daft since all they can to is pinch fairly firmly with blunt beaks!

I have shown you their beautiful home at the Horseshoe Falls before, but, just in case you missed it:


Two of my latest meadow embroideries to be listed at Folksy. The first, featuring cornflowers, is now sold!

1 comment:

  1. I have to get my fix of ducklings too, they're gorgeous. I've seen lots this year, starting April and even tonight a new family of 4 tiny mallards on the Wharfe. Goosanders too. Wish it was so easy to see other young birds.
    Sorry about the chickenpox though, that's really tough.