Or is there? Answers on a postcard please to me.
A little bird once told me that a duck is a great way of keeping slugs at bay, because he eats them, plain and simple. It's not kind, but it is to me as my backyard gets far too many slugs and they devour my precious courgettes and runner beans. The little feckers saw through whole stems leaving nothing in their slimy paths. It seems ducks, chickens or hedgehogs are a good treatment.
I decided, seeing as I have a tiny backyard, about 12 ft by 16ft, that I would try a duck first, as they are the biggest of the three.
My pal Collette, who makes the yummy Natures Bounty range of jams and relishes (plug plug) offered to give me a loan of a duck. Duck for hire, free of charge, I had to take it. I drove out to her home today, armed with two sons and a cat box to transport the capturee. The ducks waddled around the wilderness that is their garden. It's big, I thought, mine isn't. While we had coffee Collette suggested that maybe two chickens would be better, they would be pals for each other and would give eggs too, win win. They eat slugs but love plants too, what's to do?
Son No. 2 was hell bent on coming home armed with a duck, he had told all his pals that his "mad" mother was getting a duck for a pet, so he didn't want to let himself down. I agreed to take one, to see how we got on. Collette's son was recruited to do some duck catching. He chased the feckers round the garden, in and out, under trees, while the two dogs barked like mad, raced around and made everything impossible. Eventually a duck was captured and bundled into a box, then into the boot. So the ducknapping began.
Taking hostages is complicated business. If they don't want to go they will make your life hell. The duck we captured was called the Gay Priest. He has a collar, as do many ducks. He has the name as he never tries it on with the lady ducks, instead he tries to get in the middle when the other males get it on with the female birds, maybe he hopes they won't notice he's a boy and do it anyway. Seems he never gets lucky, so he's gay, but celibate. But that's another debate, for another blog. We called our new duck Brendan, after a gay friend, and cos it suited him. Brendan wasn't impressed with his new surroundings. Though he never actually said so. He just said "Waack" and "Waack" a lot. In a way he would make a great husband.
Wife "How are you dear?"
Wife "Yes, that's awful, though not as bad as my day".
And on it goes
Brendan did a lot of duck pooh on the way home in the car. As soon as he stepped out of the box he said "Waack" and did a huge pee on the ground. then he jumped on all the plants and knocked a few over. Hmmm, no snail eating yet. I gave him some bread and he ignored it.
Waaack. Another pee, and a pooh.
The cat came into the kitchen. He went to the door and he froze. I imagine what went on in his cat mind was
WTF? WT F'in F is that F'in thing? OMG it's F'in Christmas, where's my knife and fork?
He stalked him from the door
Waack, said Brendan and flapped his wings. The cat was unflappable.
Cat hunkered down, a pose we have seen too many times as he goes for the street pigeons. We all yelled "Nooooohh", and made a grab for him. "Somebody get that cat outta here". Exit cat, no doubt planning ways to murder said large, unflying bird.
He looks lonely, I thought. This was a silly idea. I feel sad and stupid. I decide he has to go back, tonight. My friends will laugh at me, I'm used to that. Rather be stupid than cruel.
Brendan has to get back in the box. Have you ever tied to catch a large duck?
It's not easy. My sons and I stood like morons in the yard looking at the bird.
Waack, he said as he taunted us and flapped his massive wings.
We walked slowly towards him, he jumped on plants. I panicked, he ran. I called my sons Marys. He waddled awkwardly into the kitchen at high speed and into the kitchen door, we stumbled after him. He ran back to the back door and stepped his massive foot into the cats bowl of milk, he slipped and milk went flying everywhere. Mayhem.
I called a friend who was already laughing at me. I needed "how to catch a duck" advice.
Throw a blanket over him.
Great, somebody who knows something. Said my Son.
Duck was captured with said blanket, it worked and it was only a sheet, now a sheety sheet but still. Duck went into the boot of the car and the return trip to the countryside began.
Halfway there my petrol tank signaled empty. Ha, I had left my money at home in the panic to get duck out of the country. So, not only did I go to a friend today to borrow a duck. She also gave me six fresh duck eggs, two jars of yummy relish and lots of hospitality.
Here was I, returning in the middle of dinner time with a messed up duck and asking for money. You gotta love me, I try.
Brendan reluctantly left the box and was promptly chased back to his ducky pals by the two crazy dogs. He was right back in the gaggle, no doubt telling his tale of imprisonment in a Limerick yard.
He looked at home and I knew I did the right thing.