There have been times before when the promise of feeding ducks had lead to Little D going into meltdown, his little hands begging for the bag of stale bread but we have learnt from experience that any bread proffered to these waiting hands will be quickly crammed into a fast moving mouth. No man, no woman and particularly no animal that has been fried, braised or roasted should come between this child and bag of bread. Me and Carol have the scars to prove that a toddler and his food is a mystic moment, a moment of solitude, a moment to wear water proofs.
So, with bag of stale bread hidden, we made our way down country lanes round Pig Row as the clouds piled up. The blustery wind slowly died away as we walked down into the valley and the temperatures rose, making our choice of clothing seem a little odd to a family of five who were camping in a nearby field in their t-shirts and sandals.
This was the first time we had gone to the country park. We were unaware whether there were any ducks. We had, like any good parent, already come up with some convincing lies if no ducks happened to be there. The lies ran along the vein of, 'Mr & Mrs Duck have gone shopping' or, 'Oh dear, Little D. It seems the ducks didn't know we were coming, let's go home and phone them'. The ruse is to get him home, arrange his plastic farmyard ducks before him and then give him plastic fruit to throw at them. This to an untrained eye looks like a prehistoric version of skittles unless a plastic pumpkin is being thrown than it is akin to ten pin bowling. It keeps Little D happy when the real ducks have flown the roost. Thankfully, there were plenty of ducks at the country park, along with some moor hens, some very loud geese and several fishermen who through narrowing eyes watched us throw bread. I am sure the fish were not scared away by Little D paddling at the edge of the lake or by his over enthusiastic, and some would say manic screaming to the ducks. I am sure many a child has yelled at the ducks, 'Come and get it', 'Oh dear, ducks' and our personal favourite, 'All gone' which loosely translates as, Little D has eaten the bread, again.
A walk into the valley inevitably means a walk back up hill. A chance for Little D to suddenly develop an inability to walk but an enthusiastic ability to be pushed in buggy. We foraged some blackberries, hoped the pub at the top of the hill would be open (it wasn't) and we panted the final mile to our front door. Thankfully, as the valley fell behind us, the blustery wind of the moors cooled us down and no one can be ungrateful for the view that met us from our home.