CHUGGING down each morning to feed the ducks at the pond has become an integral part of my daily routine. Although John did join me for a brief period last week, ousting my spaniel Moss from co driver’s role, he has once more relinquished the job to me as he finds the gator too painful to sit in.

Good. This way I no longer need to bear the pained, silent, but very obvious, critiques of my driving ability. After all who doesn’t crash a few gears now and then. The task of refilling all the pheasant’s feeders has been taken off me by a recently retired friend. I do not object to that at all, as it was an onerous task lifting heavy bags of grain to tip and fill various drums of wheat positioned in the woods where the pheasants roost.

But the ducks have become my friends. And I was quite delighted that at the last shoot, the cunning birds had rumbled the less than stealthy approach of the shooters through the trees to their pond, and at least a hundred ducks had flown off before the guns got within shooting range.

I wondered if the escape plan had been suggested by one particular duck that I am considering capturing before the next shoot and offering sanctuary to back in our paddock. This particular duck shows no fear. When I trundle up all of the ducks swim over to the side of the water. Except for one. She swims towards me.

By the time I have parked up and started to lift sacks of grain out to spread along the ponds edge, she has waddled out of the water, quacking away furiously to me to get on with the job. She is completely fearless and it is not until I back away in the gator and stay inside shushing Moss that the other ducks overcome their fear and swim over to feed.

A saving grace maybe that she won’t be one of the ducks to fly away because, maybe due to my daily visits, she has become oblivious to and unruffled by the beaters attempting to startle and drive ducks into the air. Instead she just swims around wondering what all the fuss is about.

Nobody shoots a duck on the water or pond edge and the dogs don’t attempt swim and catch a diving duck. The ducks that fly are usually those that have flown in from other ponds. My duck is hopefully one of a hard core that have no intention of leaving the safety of the water for the perils of the air.

To misquote If, by Rudyard Kipling, to keep your head whilst all around others are losing the best plan.