My wife and I were visiting her parents in Norfolk, They were building their house at the time and so we checked in to a very nice local hotel which had substantial gardens complete with a beautiful duck pond.
We had chosen the hotel because they allowed their guests to bring dogs with them which meant that we were accompanied by Otto and Freyja our two Bernese Mountain dogs. On our last evening we enjoyed a superb meal in the hotel restaurant and then prepared to retire.
Naturally this meant giving the dogs one last walk around the garden. The poem below outlines what happened next.
By writing the poem I am not trying to celebrate what the dog did, there was no excuse and to this day I still feel a twinge of guilt when I think about it. What I am celebrating is the way in which the duck stood its ground and managed to survive a tussle with a very large Bernese Mountain dog and then had the affront to stand on the lawn the following morning as if to say ‘get off my Land.’
I guess I will always remember carrying a very muddy dog through the reception along the corridors and to our room whilst being covered in mud myself without being seen and without leaving a muddy trail to our door. It was truly a night to remember. The best bit being the duck was not physically harmed.
Otto And The Great White Duck
Somewhere in the dark a scuffle broke out
It involved my dog without a doubt.
There in the pool of silver moon light
Otto and a duck were having a fight.
With duck in his mouth, the mud he churned
as he fought to gain purchase, his efforts were spurned.
He thrust his head forward, again and again
to swallow the duck - in one, his aim.
I entered the pool’s deep black ooze
forgetting I was wearing my best evening shoes.
I grabbed the collar of the mud covered hound,
he twisted and squirmed around and around.
I towed him back to the grassy bank
And then it hit me, we really stank.
My wife arrived with a large beach towel
and great concern for the missing fowl.
Wrapped in the towel the big dog struggled
as to our room the package was smuggled,
Thuds, bangs and howls were heard for an hour
As the three of us shared a late night shower.
The following morning the hotelier was told.
His only concern was for his Muscovy old;
As we drove away with the dog in the back,
The great white duck let out a loud quack.
Which clearly meant; ‘and don’t come back’.
John Carré Buchanan
09 August 2012