I love my ducks. We bought them many years ago in a florist’s just down the road from the hotel Bacchus, lovingly run by Herr Schnurr and his wife in the little town of Wachenheim in the German Palatinate. We had actually set out to buy some white wine from the vintner down the road, but I noticed this beautiful shade of blue in the window amongst the flowers – and – I had to look. I saw one duck and – the biggest – and it wasn’t very expensive, so I bought it. Jacek raised his eyes to heaven and told me to hurry up. What a mistake he made. As as I was waiting for the assistant to very slowly and carefully pack my duck in newspaper and a big box, I looked around me, and what should I see but a veritable family of ducks just quaking to be adopted. I couldn’t refuse and bought the lot.
This did not go down too well with my life’s partner. He had set out to buy wine, and now there was no space. My poor little ducks took up at least 2 crates worth of room, and I have to admit, were very uncomfortable under my feet.
They travelled with us through Germany and France, and despite my consternation they arrived in one piece. Then the question of where to put them. Jacek wanted to hide them deep amongst the vegetation – bearing in mind our garden is twelve feet by 20, there was not a lot of choice, and so eventually they had pride of place within the fuschias.
Many of our friends agreed with Jacek that they were tasteless kitsch. One or two were kind enough to comment that they were stylish kitsch. But I like them. I don’t often insist on having my own way, yet somehow this duck-shaped crockery impinged upon me very deeply.
And now I have washed them as they are having to move as we are having the fences re-done. An opportune moment to take them to Cookham, for their final resting place. I wonder where that shall be?