First we had three ducks waddling around the farm, then there were two and finally just the one.
“I think Blaze and Blossom may have gone to heaven,” I explain to the children.
I expect tears, sobs and days of mourning. Not a bit of it.
In their usual child-like way, they take the news in their stride. The six-year-old is fascinated by the detail and promptly marches out with his sword to check for traces of a battle.
The four-year-old seems surprisingly perky and says, “I think Grandpa will be really pleased to see our ducks in heaven.” Meanwhile the Baby shrieks, “Quack Quack!” at any mention of the word ‘duck’.
It’s only my daughter and I who wrap our arms around each other and worry about who will keep the last remaining duck company.
I reassure her that I’ll launch a Dorset-wide search for ducks that day.
After phoning everyone I know with any connection to feathers I finally come across some ducklings for sale at a nearby farm. I fail to ask about the breed or whether they’re male or female.
As long as they quack, waddle and have feathers I’m happy. The owner asks if I could collect them that evening around 6pm – perfectly timed on the way back from the school run.
The children are thrilled when I pick them up. They all chatter about names for our two new farm friends. When we arrive the owner seems a bit bemused by the car heaving with four small children, a black Labrador and a Border Terrorist yapping.
“Do you have anything to carry them in?” she asks me peering into the car at my handbag and a few scattered book-bags. “I’ll find a box,” she says kindly and I follow her up the path to the garden.
I’m rather stunned when I catch sight of her ducks. They’re nothing like our lonesome one at home. In fact they are double the size of him despite only being six weeks old. I can’t turn back now. “Would you like to choose which ones you want?” she asks. “You choose,” I reply quickly. I carefully place the box of ducks into the boot of the car, shoving aside the dogs and reassuring the owner that they’re going to a nice home.
I climb into the car to the sound of The Baby excitedly quacking. “Thank you,” shriek the children joyfully out of the car window as we drive off down the road. I glance in my wing mirror to see the lady laughing out loud at this extraordinary sight.