Grandparental tour … rescuing ducks

Having safely arrived in Coffs Harbour and spent the night, the trip story has to wait, we were feeling good and about to go visiting our friends.

I had organised everyone, dressed Benedict and was heading out to the front gate to get into the car when I heard car horns and shouting, first from my mother and then from some men – in French.

I opened the gate and there was a line of traffic at a standstill, my mother waving her arms and two Senegalese refugees who live opposite shouting and gesticulating on the road. Oh and the four ducks that were attempting to cross High Street in the five minutes that is peak hour in Coffs. The panicked ducks were attempting to waddle across the road and being herded this way and that by the confused and amused Senegalese. I was holding Benedict in my arms who watched fascinated while three adults stood in the road and waved their arms.

Eventually the drake and two of the females made it to our side of the street. One remaining female was stranded and was waddling up and down trying to work out what to do. The men helped mum herd the three ducks into the property next to ours where they made it safely into the backyard under the mango tree and then took off with a frenzy of flapping and quacking. This prompted the remaining duck to panic and run back on to the road. She was shooed across and then she too took off into the sky.

The Senegalese were laughing and shouting Avez-vous voir? Voir les canards? and probably Qui sont ces fous femmes? but I can’t be sure of that!

Robert appeared when all the shouting and gesticulating was over and mum excitedly described the scene. What sort of ducks, he asked. What colour was the drake? Brown ducks and the drake had a beautiful blue neck she replied. Ah, Robert said. Wood ducks. And a mallard drake – they are introduced you are supposed to shoot them on sight! Apparently the mallard drakes interbreed with the wood ducks and pollute the wild gene pool.

So somewhere in Coffs a lucky mallard with his stolen harem lives to quack another day.