• neil

Day 49 (5 May) Jibber Jabber

What a morning - and it is not yet over.

Toast and marmalade all sorted, I shuffled into the street to check my letterbox and the first thing I saw was my rubber ducks making towards the house.

I wasn’t relieved. I had not realised they were gone and so I had never been worried. I was a tad surprised is all. They, par contre, were extremely relieved to see me.

As always, they all spoke at once and it was only when I had got them inside and fed them (you don't want to know, its disgusting what they eat) that I managed to piece the story together.

Late yesterday evening, as is my wont before snuffing out the candles, I had been reading to Teddy. He insists on a bedtime story and is a stickler for the classics. I was reading Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky out loud, in my best narrator voice, because when I read in my head Teddy misses half the words.

The ducks, from their perches in my bathroom, heard everything. They found themselves captivated. Unfortunately, ducks have no concept of the fantastic and would seem to take everything literally.

As Teddy and I slept they conferred and decided that this Wabberjockey was a clear existential threat and was to be terminated with extreme prejudice. Which is the kind of vocabulary used by rubber ducks who think the Mission Impossible films are training videos.

There was much discussion as where best to procure a vorpal sword but finally, none of them having the faintest idea of what a vorpal was, it was decided that

a pair of my nail scissors and a beard trimmer were the best available weapons.

Showing considerable initiative they unravelled the rope from the 'Soap-on-a- Rope' Alfie gave me for Christmas and lowered themselves out of the bathroom window duck by duck.

They almost abandoned the mission at this stage, severely demoralised by their first casualty. Big Yellow Duck had shouted to Rupert asking if he was OK and Rupert made to say "Yes". Unfortunately when holding on to a rope with your beak most words will result in a fall and the word 'yes' was no exception. I shall write to his wife when I finish today's blog.

After shedding a few tears the remaining ducks fluffed themselves up and carried on to a nearby pond. Ducks assume everybody lives on a pond and they saw no reason for a Wabberdickey to be different. They were on plan and in position by first light, forming a classic enfilade ambush on the edge of a path overlooking the water. The two small Christmas Hatted Ducks (I never know which one is which - they look so alike) were placed at either end of the ambush line-up, each with one end of a piece of dental floss in her beak. The other ends were held by BigYellow Duck who was bang in the middle of his squad. As soon as the Wibblewokkey passed one of Christmas Hatted Ducks they were to tug on the floss , thus warning Big Yellow Duck who would give the attack order.

The only flaw in the plan, as they now acknowledge, is that they had no idea what a Jaberwocky looks like . Having spent most of their lives in my bathroom they had no idea what a hedgehog looks like either and they just.....assumed. So some poor hedgehog family is now mourning Spikey. I'm not writing to them. Hedgehogs can't read.

And hath thou slain the Jabberwock?

Come to my arms, my beamish ducks!

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"

He chortled in his joy.

"Just do it!" said the ad from Nike

And that's what did for poor dear Spikey

The ducks then made their way home and it is at that point I saw them.

Another matter their plan had failed to allow for was how singularly badly adapted they are for progress on tarmac roads.

I have spent the best part of two hours rubbing Vaseline into their undersides.

I asked Teddy and Alfie to be present. You never know if one day you might want to run for office.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy ducks

Did gyre and gamble in their tub

All mimsy were their happy quacks

As I did their tumbles rub

The ducks are now warm and cosy and watching a cookery programme on TV about cuisine in the South West of France. It seems to be about confit de....

Excuse me while I change the channel.

Keep an eye out for each other!

(That is not what I meant ducks)



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