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Sunday, 13 July 2014

births, deaths and carriages

They've arrived! Here is the birth of the first duckling - a day earlier than the others, which meant he was on his own in the box until the next egg hatched. Out of twelve eggs I have five ducklings - two black runners and three white ones. Sex as yet unknown. Hoping I haven't got five boys though.

 This was the second hatching - a day later.

 Sadly, although several of the eggs probably hadn't been fertilised, at least three of them got to full term and died before they could get out. It was heart breaking to open up the eggs later on to find them inside. I'm not surprised in many ways. Watching them struggling to get out was I imagine like watching Houdini escape from a straight jacket - only he would have been quicker. I had to help a couple out by pulling away a bit of the shell with tweezers.
 They have the most enormous feet when they come out - like the claws on a lobster - which gradually open out into their webbed footwear.
About five minutes old
 Here they are under the infra red light bulb. I have now put in a paint tray in which they have enormous fun. You put water into the bit where the paint normally goes and the other bit is like standing on a beach before you splash into the sea. They run in and out, fluttering their tiny wings, queuing up to do it all over again. Then they all huddle up together under the warm light bulb to dry off and fall into a deep sleep.

 My new pink wildflower "meadow" (about two square feet !) has come into bloom and I'm really pleased with it. Lots of different kinds of pink cosmos, pink dahlias - the one you can see is Stolz von Berlin which is adorable with very small pale pink flowers. Also in there are black cornflowers and pale pink nigella, a mixture of grasses etc.

Took Harry out in the carriage the other day - er -  cart - and had a wonderful journey round the fields of barley and up the lanes. I had always meant to do the school run in it but obviously too late now as both the girls have left school and anyway I think they would have been embarassed. I would have been pulled up outside the school gates with the Range rovers and Audis and my girls would have been standing - ignoring me and looking up the road saying in loud voices "Wonder where Mum has got to?"
Pocket (quarter Bengal) has been banned from the dogs room where the ducklings are as he is taking an unhealthy interest in the chirrupings coming from inside the box.

Here is an extract from a beautiful poem by Louis MacNeice. Well worth looking up the rest of it if you don't already know it.} Sorry - I'm too lazy to type it all up.

Prayer before birth
by Louis MacNeice

 I am not yet born; O hear me.

Let not the bloodsucking bat or the rat or the
 stoat or the
club-footed ghoul come near me.

I am not yet born, console me.

I fear that the human race may with tall walls wall me,

with strong drugs dope me, with wise lies lure me,

on black racks rack me, in blood-baths roll me.

I am not yet born; provide me

With water to dandle me, grass to grow for me, trees to talk

to me, sky to sing to me, birds and a white light

in the back of my mind to guide me.

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