Yesterday, I drove up to Leicestershire to take photographs of comedian Charlie Chuck with his ducks. Well, they are not his ducks. They are his girlfriend’s ducks.
It is not a quiet nor a simple life having 21 ducks, two dogs, an occasional fox and Charlie Chuck in your back garden. Because they have to be mostly kept apart for safety reasons.
There are four females ducks, four very large males and 13 newly-born ducklings.
The four males have to be kept separate to stop them leaping on the four females, grabbing them violently by the back of their necks and making what Shakespeare almost called the duck with two backs.
The four females and 12 ducklings can be left to roam but need careful shepherding in case they make a bolt for the wrought-iron side gate and, from there, the front garden and road.
And then there is Elsie.
Elsie was a sickly duckling, excluded from the family nest which was in a large wooden dog house. She was tended by Charlie Chuck’s girlfriend’s grown-up son and has bonded with him and humans not ducks. She does not like water except to drink. She refuses to swim. And, if she goes outside when the other ducklings are around, they attack her. But she will settle on human shoulders – especially Charlie Chuck’s – like a miniature would-be pirate’s parrot.
And on his head.
If no human is available, she will follow the nearest mother substitute available – usually Billy the Jack Russell dog belonging to Charlie Chuck’s girlfriend. Of a night-time, Elsie would ideally like to sleep with Billy the Jack Russell dog, but Billy does not want this, so he tries to avoid the arrangement by running away, resulting in a regular circular chase round a tree in the back garden, with Billy pursued by Elsie in the twilight.
And then there is Charlie Chuck’s dog Ollie the collie who never barks at home but who does when he visits Charlie Chuck’s girlfriend’s home and hears Billy the Jack Russell dog bark.
And then there is the occasional fox, kept at bay at night by Charlie Chuck’s girlfriend’s grown-up son with a catapult in an upstairs window.
And then there is Charlie Chuck.
At home, the books on Charlie Chuck’s bookshelf include all the children’s stories written by C.S.Lewis, the autobiography I Stole Freddie Mercury’s Birthday Cake by Malcolm Hardee (he drowned) and The Paranormal: A Bishop Investigates by theologian Hugh Montefiore who was born a Sephardic Jew but who became the Church of England’s Bishop of Birmingham 1977-1987. He (Montefiore) converted to Christianity as a 16-year-old schoolboy when he had a vision of Christ while sitting in his study at Rugby school.
Jesus was a Jew who never converted to Christianity.
It can be a complicated world.
There are pictures of Charlie Chuck with Elsie the duck on my Facebook page here.