The subsequent team enquiry found that this was the moment when the Tufted Duck routine in the Synchronised Preening (Mixed) event went awry. In public, team managers were tight-lipped, but one did speak privately to our reporter on condition of anonymity. “Clockwise!” they said. “She went clockwise…..! What the actual….?! Even Mallards know that the first wingpit preen is done anticlockwise….! But that’s females for you – no sense of direction. Perhaps we’d best paint an A and a C on her wings next time, to help her tell the difference. If there is a next time….” he added darkly. “I mean – look at that conformation! Look at him! That’s how it’s done! Head on the water, bill to the sky – it’s not hard, is it? Well – obviously – it is hard, or everybody’d be doing it. But what I mean is – at this level, really, you expect better, don’t you? Never work with ducklings or females, my old pa used to say, and I reckon that’s good advice for life.”
Today I had a hospital appointment at Oh-Good-Grief-O’clock, and R sweetly levered himself upright as well, and drove me into Stratford. The benefit of the ridiculously early start was that we’d done the hospital and coffee, and I was photographing down at the river, by 10.30am. Current tufted duck count: twelve.
This afternoon we both had ‘flu and pneumococcal pneumonia jabs. It was the first time either of us has had either vaccination, but in the current circumstances of medical alarm, despondency, and general brouhaha, it felt like the sensible and correct thing to do.
My arm hurts. Please send
This evening we watched my excellent choice for Lockdown Family Film Club: My Octopus Teacher, on Netflix. I’ll probably have stopped snivelling by bedtime.