A brief hiatus between columns

D.J. Sweetenham


I’m very sorry that I haven’t been keeping up with my writing duties lately but health and other circumstances interfered. I will try to bring you up to date with some of it; hoping not to bore you too much. And I won’t forget to update you on my duck situation which is undergoing changes not totally unlike our human political craziness. So – here goes!

On the health side – for quite a few years now I’ve been aware that I have A-Fib, which is some kind of heart disease. Another development was a blockage in both my main arteries, in the neck. Anyway, to try and cut this short, I was being told what to do by two so-called surgeons, who repeatedly sent me for various tests which did no more than enlarge my bill and did absolutely nothing to improve my condition. So I decided I wanted nothing more to do with them and placed all my trust in my primary care physician and his incredibly competent and effective staff. I would recommend them to anyone.

Now, back to the ducks. Our little colony in the back yard has recently been invaded by a fairly large flock of wild Mallard ducks. The Muscovy ducks, the residents, are too well-mannered to actually fight with the intruders even though they are more than three times the size of the Mallards. But with the large numbers of smaller ducks grabbing as much of the food as they can get, there’s not a lot left over for the residents and the duckfood budget will only stretch so far. I’ve tried, with only partial success to keep the two groups separated. I’ve shoooed the Mallards back into the water at feeding time and thrown the food over their heads into the water while I put out food in the back yard for the residents. I know it sounds like a solution but the fact is the Mallards don’t just stay in the water. As soon as my back is turned they invade the yard in a feasting frenzy and my poor little group of about a dozen Moscovys lose some of their own food. So feeding time is more of a struggle than a pleasure but it must be done. This is only a small lake and the residents need help in obtaining sustenance. I love them all, really, and I think they know it. I would never intentionally harm any animal. It just means that I have to work harder. So what else is new? We have this little struggle twice each day and it’s taking quite a lot to get used to it. I know it only takes a total, each time, of about fifteen minutes to distribute the food but my aging and painful body makes it a lot more difficult. After feeding “The Gang,” I drag myself back up the sunroom steps, and collapse into my recliner for a rest to get the blood flowing again in my legs and back. The pain only takes about twenty minutes to dissipate and then I can move again. So that’s where we’re at, in the Swan Lake duck world.

Now I have a very important piece of personal news I wish to share with you. Just yesterday, I had a phone call from a young lady with a different but strangely familiar accent. It turned out that she is my long lost daughter, Diane, who, with her husband, James, lives on their fifty foot, oceangoing catamaran, anchored off Granada. I lost contact with them about a year ago when I had trouble with my e-mail provider and being almost totally ignorant of the computer, I just couldn’t make it work. Anyway, my wife, Millie, bless her heart (and the rest of her!) somehow found a contact number for Di on Facebook (whatever that is) and called her with our home phone number. Di’s accent is South African although she was born in East Africa. Oops – I just checked and I’m exceeding my space allowance for this column so I’ll have to close. Let me know if you want me to continue with the same subject – ‘Til next time.

D.J. Sweetenham, originally from England, is the author of Bumps in the Road and Bumps in the Road - Part Two, highlights of his interesting and far-flung life. D.J., his wife, and their small dog, live in Stockbridge.