FOR once, I can write authoritatively about something.
Well, not authoritatively (once more, a vat of eggs has descended upon our pudding) but from the benefit of experience. Up to a point.
Let's cut to the chase. I was once chased by a swan. I was holding forth to an audience of one about a subject she has since forgotten.
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While thus disbursing my knowledge — and this detail is crucial — I had my back to the River Tyne that runs brownly through Haddington, East Lothian.
A scream from a member of the crowd alerted me that something was wrong. And, on turning round, I found an angry swan about to bite me in the buttockular region.
Lacking the first part of the fight or flight instinct, I skedaddled, with the beast waddling awkwardly after me for a couple of paces before stopping with a smug look that said: "Wha daur meddle wi moi?"
However, this is not the limit of my knowledge of our subject today. You may have read about a swan that's been attacking the citizenry at Craiglockhart pond, Edinburghshire. Well, said swan is known to me.
I hope it's not swannist to say they all look the same, but I think I have our beast pegged.
The gymnasium, where once a week I flex my pimply muscles, overlooks the pond.
And, periodically, this member of the waterfowl family Anatidae stoats up to the windows and gives us each a hard man stare.
Then he starts inhaling something off the glass like a right nutter.
The pair on the pond have six or seven peculiar-looking cygnets on the go, as they do every year, and in defence of these, one parent has been flying at the civilian population, particularly junior kayakers, who've now been told they can't use the pond, for their own safety.
This is an outrage. Kayaking is one of the few leisure activities of which I approve. I thought about taking it up myself once — got a catalogue and everything.
But now it has been blootered by this nasty pond-ned, which bullies the ducks and moorhens too.
In truth, all these beasts are horrible. It's duck-eat-duck out there. A female friend claims ducks indulge in rape as well as committing culpable duckicide by drowning.
I don't know about that, but I join the junior kayakers in wishing that swan would flap off.