Thursday, 16 June 2011

A Splendid Fellow

One day I had a call from Jo , at the Moulin de Grolhier "Are you having  this duck then, or what?'  she asked.  The duck in question was 'Pekka'.  His featherbrained parents had conceived him at the wrong time of year and so Jo had taken him in as a hatchling as she feared he wouldn't survive the winter.  He had been raised in their home, at times sleeping in Ted's slipper and although still young had already begun to display his characterful personality.  The other ducks at the Moulin had no time for his histrionics and so he was looking to be rehomed.  I had no recollection of agreeing to take the duck, it may have happened after a glass or two of red, but I liked the idea so a date was set for his arrival and I charged Bob with making a duckhouse.  This would be placed on the island at the lake which was to become his new realm.  At this stage, he was still fluffy yellow, his sexuality had not been confirmed, so we took him to see the old crone who sells ducklings at the market.  I wanted to buy him some companions but didn't want to be overrun with new ducks so I was thinking a same sex group would be good.  The Crone confirmed he was a female.  Jo looked sceptical - he already had a huge 'alpha male' attitude but this woman sexed ducks all day for a living so we re-christened him Pekkarina, bought two female ducklings and thought all was well.  Pekka and the ladies were moved into their new home and that, we thought, was that.  You know what's coming.  The muscovy ducks are strange looking beasts, half duck, half pterydactyl with a warty red head.  The males are much larger that the females and it was soon obvious from his behaviour that Pekka was indeed a boy.  Those poor girls!

I wouldn't say he was tame exactly, but he definitely liked being around people. Although he didn't seem to be too keen on men he liked kids and was quite happy to spend time with them out on the raft.  Sometimes his hissing antics would get too much and he'd have to be coralled into the privvy with a paddle to shut him up.  Other times he'd sit quite contentedly and liked to be stroked.  He could fly, but he never really mastered the art of landing and would roar into the shore too fast, make a pig's ear of the touchdown and then waddle about as though he meant to do it that way.  He was a just a crazy, mixed up duck.

Sadly, one winter, the lake froze over and so when foxy came a-calling they had nowhere to run.  Three piles of feathers were all that remained.  I felt so guilty that I'd not protected them, I just didn't think and anyway he seemed so formidable.  We still miss him.  I don't know how many ducks get remembered, but we all remember Pekka.

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