Wednesday 28 September 2016

Lay of the land: There's no ducking out of this Easter rising

Fiona O'Connell

Published 20/03/2016 | 02:30

Easter eggs will be everywhere this day next week.
Easter eggs will be everywhere this day next week.

Easter eggs will be everywhere this day next week. But a few might turn up early in my backyard, in a scenario that proves fairy tales are based on facts.

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However, the same could be said of all fiction - especially when it focuses on our fondness for fantasy. Certainly, there was no shortage of Walter Mitty types canvassing during the recent election. And plenty of them can be found all year round in any Irish country town, labouring under illusions of grandeur and importance - whether as artists, oracles of wisdom or supreme shakers and makers - a reality existing entirely within their egos.

However, not just human beings but honking beings can be guilty of megalomania - as illustrated by this tale with an ironic twist on The Ugly Duckling.

Once upon a time - last winter, to be precise - ducks started visiting the riverbank beneath this town cottage in search of sustenance. Some stood far from the mallard crowd, bobbing their heads to catch my attention - like cute children who stay still in a noisy group to get noticed. They scored food with their bulls-eye beaks, displaying impressive dexterity. (Or "ducksterity'?)

Eventually some took to waddling around the backyard. At first it was amusing to see them ambling about. But talk about an overdose of duck surprise. Because as Basil says in the Gourmet Night episode of Fawlty Towers, "If you don't like duck, then you're rather stuck."

For their D-day landing has turned into a full-blown invasion, meaning I've discovered their dark side - not so much Darth Vader as Duck Vader. I'd almost prefer the Donald - as in that risible but dangerous republican candidate in the USA - than the many Donald Ducks outside.

It's not that I'm less fond of these fowl. But I do detest cleaning up their deposits. Or seeing the songbirds go hungry as they hoover up the seed with their boisterous beaks. For now they're so bountiful that my backyard is like duck soup - and I'm the noodle.

They're driving me daffy. I shoo them away, ruffling many a fine feather as they fly off with a haughty honk or querulous quack, only to duck back within minutes.

But here's the bit that quacks me up, considering that The Ugly Duckling is the tale of a swan who is born into a family of ducks that cast him out because he clearly doesn't belong. Apparently one solution to my duck uprising is to get a life-size statue of a swan.

Other options include hanging bright objects like CDs on a string; maybe something by Ducky Gillespie?

And I'm not joking about Easter coming early.

Because I've noticed a duo of Daphne ducks waddling under the oil tank, making me wonder if they are nesting.

I certainly won't be egging them on.

Sunday Independent

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