Good company

Thursday July 29, 2004

I wonder how many times a year we stay home, waiting for a delivery that does not come? I try to be adult about it, smile patiently and admit to myself that the Royal Mail parcel service does not guarantee next day delivery unless you pay extra for it. And I don’t grind my teeth anymore, not even in frustration.

So, another day without my lovely new camera. Perhaps tomorrow. The anticipation will make my initial experience all the more enjoyable. It will, won’t it? Yes. Of course it will.

I’ll bet the Queen doesn’t have to wait too long for a delivery from Amazon. Or from the Royal Mail. No point in being Queen if you can’t have a rapid response from your own Royal Mail. Quantum, is that.

So I played with old photographs, and with some not so old ones. When the temperature dropped in the evening I wandered out for a short, gentle stroll. I stood and watched some ducks cluckle-duckling along the edge of the river, not in the least bothered by me or my presence. Thoreau must have been observing a different kind of duck when he recorded in his journal:


[Oct. 29, 1837] Two ducks, of the summer or wood species, which were merrily dabbling their favorite basin, struck up a retreat on my approach, and seemed disposed to take French leave, paddling off with swan-like majesty. They are first-rate swimmers, beating me at a round pace, and — what was to me a new trait in the duck character — dove every minute or two and swam several feet under water, in order to escape our attention. Just before immersion they seemed to give each other a significant nod, and then, as if by a common understanding, ‘t was heels up and head down in the shaking of a duck’s wing. When they reappeared, it was amusing to observe with what a self-satisfied, darn-it-how-he-nicks-’em air they paddled off to repeat the experiment.


He was however an ardent and expert fisherman, and tended to haunt waters more suitable to that end. I think he’d be unlikely to trust his hook and line among my massed lilypads. Even so, I suspect he’d enjoy a stroll along my river bank, and I’d welcome his company. I’d have to put him right on that ‘swan-like majesty’ line, though. Being a Henry David Thoreau is no excuse for a weak and inappropriate simile.


Stickford, Jul,'04
along the river
a thousand lilypads



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